South Central (film)
|Directed by||Stephen Milburn Anderson|
|Produced by||William B. Steakley
|Written by||Stephen Milburn Anderson
Donald Bakeer (novel)
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release dates||September 18, 1992|
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Box office||$1,373,196 (USA)|
South Central is a 1992 American crime drama film, written and directed by Stephen Milburn Anderson. This film is an adaptation of the 1987 novel Crips by Donald Bakeer, a former high school teacher in South Central Los Angeles. The film stars Glenn Plummer, Byron Minns, and Christian Coleman. South Central was produced by Oliver Stone and released by Warner Bros. The movie received wide critical acclaim, with New Yorker Magazine praising it as one of the year's best Independent films. South Central also placed Stephen Milburn Anderson in the New York Times "Who's Who Among Hot New Filmmakers," along with Quentin Tarantino and Tim Robbins. The 1998 Edward Norton Drama American History X is often compared to this film by critics and fans.
Bobby (Glenn Plummer) is a young black gang member of Hoover Street Deuces, or simply "Deuce". He gets paroled from the Youth Authority and he meets up with his fellow gang members Ray Ray (Byron Minns), Loco and Bear. As it turns out, Bobby's girlfriend Carole (LaRita Shelby) gave birth to his son Jimmie (Christian Coleman) while he was incarcerated..The gang goes to Bobby's girlfriend Carole's apartment only to find out that she is not home. Ray Ray sees Carol outside the apartment of a heroin dealer Genie Lamp. The two sides get into an altercation until Carole breaks up the argument. Later, Bobby and Carol embrace as they look forward to being a family now that Bobby is out of jail. Soon after, Ray Ray calls a meeting with all the leaders of the sets of the Deuce gang in which he lays down the rules and introduces crack cocaine as means to financial gain for the gang. The Deuce gang attends a party at a small nightclub held by Genie Lamp. Genie is first reluctant to allow the gang inside until it is revealed by Ray Ray that Genie Lamp is running an illegal gambling establishment out back.
As Bobby and Jimmy attempt to return home from the party, they are approached by Genie Lamp and his bodyguard. The two force Bobby to come to Genie's apartment and snort a line of heroin while Genie threatens Bobby and the Deuce gang. Bobby and Jimmy return home in the morning only to find Carole passed out on the couch from smoking sherm PCP. Bobby seeks revenge by calling Ray Ray and the gang. The Deuces return to Genie Lamp's club and they shoot his bodyguard. Ray Ray talks Bobby into killing Genie with a pistol and a potato on the barrel as a silencer. Loco sprays the wall with a Deuce tag and the gang leaves. The Deuces hang out and then Ray Ray tattoos a Black Heart on Bobby's face as a badge of honor for killing an enemy for the progress of the Deuce gang. He is officially made an Original Gangster. Bobby returns home and tells Carole that they have to move immediately.
Some time later, Bobby and Carole move into a small house. Carole is fed up with living in hiding and being broke. She complains to Bobby about Ray Ray benefiting from the drug trade while Bobby and the family are steady broke. She leaves the house while Bobby and Jimmy stay behind. Soon after, two members of the Deuce gang pull up to Bobby's house in a brand-new red convertible. The guys ask Bobby to go for a ride but he reluctantly gives in. The gang drives down Hollywood Boulevard and encounter a suspected prostitute. The prostitute gets in the car, Loco tells the prostitute that they are gang members and he shows her a vial of crack cocaine. The prostitute pulls out a gun and her police badge and informs the gang that she is a Los Angeles police officer. The guys are taken to jail and Bobby is questioned by a detective for the murder of Genie Lamp. Bobby refuses to cooperate and the police allows him to see his son for the last time. Bobby gets a ten year prison sentence and is jailed for the murder he committed.
Ten years later, the scene features a young teenage Jimmy. It is obvious that Jimmy has joined the Deuce gang as he hangs out with gang members and is approached by Ray Ray. Ray Ray informs Jimmy that he wants him to start stealing car stereos for him and Ray Ray will pay him for the stolen goods. Ray Ray then gives Jimmy some money and a marijuana joint. The next scene switches over to Bobby who is in prison lifting weights. Bobby who is now a respected gang leader sees some members of the Aryan Brotherhood cornering Loco. Bobby intervenes and Bastille (Reginald T. Dorsey) leader of the Deuces in prison saves Loco from an ill-fate. Buddha, leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, informs Bobby that he now owes his gang fifteen boxes of cigarettes. Over time, the film shows Jimmy stealing car stereos and selling them to Ray Ray for $20.00 a piece. Meanwhile, Loco tells Bobby that Ray Ray is betraying the gang by taking all the money that the gang profits for himself and having young teenage Deuce members (Jimmy included) steal goods for him. Bobby is further outraged and feeling betrayed when Jimmy is shot in the back by a man while attempting to steal his car radio at night. Bobby refuses to cooperate with the Deuce gang when they need his assistance and the gang denounces his membership with them. This creates an open season on Bobby since the gang was protecting him from attacks by the Aryan Brotherhood. One of the members of the Aryan Brotherhood proceed to steal Bobby's food during lunchtime and Bobby severely beats the man. He is later jailed in solitary confinement.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is seen recuperating in the hospital. He is taught how to play table tennis and is taken care of by a kind nurse. While in prison, Bobby is transferred out of solitary confinement to a new cell in general population. He has a new cellmate, Ali, who tries to reach out to Bobby. Soon after, the two get into an argument and Ali tells Bobby that he lost his son to street violence by not being there for him as his father. Ali is serving a life sentence for killing the three murderers of his son. Ali tells Bobby that the Black man has to be there for his children and that Bobby has a second chance to do so since he is eligible for parole if he gets it. The film switches over to Jimmy who tells an employee from child services that he had been abused and neglected by his mother Carole. He is eventually released from the hospital and taken to a juvenile halfway house. Bobby agrees to change his life for himself and his son thanks to the efforts of Ali. Bobby is seen with Ali in the library. Bobby feels relieved now that he is learning many things that he never knew by reading about Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, etc. Ali instructs Bobby to change his attitude because it is the key element to him getting parole and becoming a better man. Soon after, Bobby is granted parole and he thanks Ali for his help. Ali had a fellow prisoner remove Bobby's Deuce gang tattoo from his face as well as give him a decent haircut. Bobby told Ali that he is no longer a Deuce gang member, that he is a man who will stand up alone as a man has to and that he will give his life in order to save his son's life. Bobby sees Loco mopping the floors and he gives Loco an African garment as a gift.
After serving a ten year prison sentence, he returns to the neighborhood he once controlled, South Central Los Angeles, along with his former gang. Bobby comes home only to find Carole asleep on the couch. He carries a sleepy Carole to bed and he begins to read the mail on the kitchen table. He comes across a letter from the State which informs him that Jimmy has been taken away and Carole seems to not know nor care. Bobby drives to the halfway house and speaks with a supervisor. The supervisor tells Bobby that he has to fulfill the requirements in order to see Jimmy as well as get permission from his probation officer and state officials as clearance. However, the supervisor allows Bobby to see Jimmy since he has not seen his son in ten years. The two begin to talk and Jimmy is shocked that his father has denounced the Deuce gang and will not seek revenge against his shooter Willie Manchester. Jimmy leaves the room in anger and insults Bobby for not being the proud Deuce gang leader that Jimmy thought his father would be. The next day, the police come to Bobby's house in search of Jimmy who had escaped the juvenile halfway house. Bobby searches the streets in pursuit of Jimmy. He comes across a group of young teenage Deuce members and tells them that he is the "Original Gangster Bobby Johnson", Jimmy's father. The kids cooperate and tell Bobby that Jimmy is hiding out at Ray Ray's warehouse.
Bobby goes to Ray Ray's warehouse and is greeted by Bear at the door. Bear reluctantly allows him in at the request of Ray Ray. Bobby and Ray Ray embrace and have a talk. Ray Ray is shocked that Bobby is a new man who wants no part of the Deuce gang. All Bobby wants is his son Jimmy and not the benefits of the criminal lifestyle. Jimmy is seen in the warehouse in gang attire and refuses to go back to the juvenile halfway house. Bobby tries to console Jimmy but Ray Ray interferes with them. Bobby tells Ray Ray that he does not care about the gang as seen by the way he kicked Loco out of the gang. Bear soon attacks Bobby and knocks him out on the couch. Ray Ray opens up a door and brings a kidnapped Willie Manchester out to the forefront. Ray Ray gives Jimmy a gun to shoot Willie and tries to talk him into it. Willie begs for his life and tells Jimmy that he did not mean to shoot him. Bobby wakes up and intervenes by beating up Bear and taking his gun. Bobby steps in front of Willie Manchester and threatens to kill Ray Ray. Suddenly, Bobby sees a sad look on Jimmy's face and Bobby puts the gun down. Bobby talks to Jimmy about the mistake he would make if Jimmy kills Willie Manchester. Bobby states that Jimmy can replace goods that he steals from a man but he cannot replace a man's life that he took nor repair it with the victim's life. Jimmy lets go of the gun which Ray Ray holds onto from behind Jimmy. Bobby tells them that he loves his son Jimmy and that he would give his life for Jimmy. Ray Ray lets go of Jimmy and Bobby and Jimmy embrace one another. Ray Ray lets Willie Manchester leave and he runs out of the warehouse. Bobby tells Jimmy that they must start their lives over but this time they will do it the right way. The scene fades to black as the two walk out of the warehouse together: father and son.