Juice (film)

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Juice Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Produced by David Heyman
Gerard Brown
James Bigwood
Neal H. Moritz
Peter Frankfurt
Preston L. Holmes
Ralph McDaniels
Written by Ernest R. Dickerson
Gerard Brown
Starring Omar Epps
Tupac Shakur
Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins
Khalil Kain
Samuel L. Jackson
Cindy Herron
Queen Latifah
Vincent Laresca
Shihab Rashid
Music by Gary G-Wiz
Cinematography Larry Banks
Editing by Brunilda Torres
Sam Pollard
Studio Island World
Original Film
Heyday Films
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Fox Video (UK) (VHS)
Release dates January 17, 1992 (U.S.) 28 August 1992 (U.K.)
Running time 100 minutes
Country U.S.A.
Language English
Box office $20,146,880[1]

Juice is a 1992 American crime drama film that stars rapper Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps. Additional cast members include Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins, Khalil Kain, and Samuel L. Jackson; the film features cameo appearances by Queen Latifah, EPMD, Special Ed, Ed Lover, Doctor Dré, Flex Alexander, Fab Five Freddy, Yo-Yo, Donald Faison and Treach. The film was directed by cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson who has directed and written other Hollywood films such as Surviving the Game and Bulletproof as well as some television series such as ER and The Wire.

The film touches on the lives of four black youths growing up in Harlem. It follows the day to day activities in the young men's lives starting out as innocent mischief but growing more serious as time passes by. It also focuses on the struggles that these young men must go through everyday as well such as police harassment and their families.[2]

The film was shot on location in New York City mainly in the Harlem area.[3]


Bishop (Shakur), Q (Epps), Raheem (Kain) and Steel (Hopkins), who refer to themselves as "The Wrecking Crew," are four friends growing up in Harlem. They regularly skip school, instead spending their days hanging out at Steel's apartment, a neighborhood arcade and also a record store where they steal LPs for Q's local DJ interests. Generally, they are harassed daily by the police or a Puerto Rican gang led by a gangster named Radames. After witnessing a robbery at the local bar, an aggravated Bishop becomes enthralled at the "juice" and the audacity of crime life. He boasts on, about tiring of the harassment by police, gangs and a local bodega owner and decides that the group must scheme on a plan to win respect. Q, however, is unsure if he wants to become involved in a life of crime, stating respect is earned. One Saturday night, under Bishop's persistence, the friends decide to rob a local bodega to teach the owner, Fernando Quiles, a lesson. Q is hesitant to go through with the crime, unsure whether it will be a success; he also fears it will affect his chances of participating in a DJ competition in which he has yearned to compete for years. After being pressured by fellow crew members he decides to join them. During the heist, for no apparent reason, Bishop shoots the owner in the head killing him.

After fleeing the scene, the four gather in an abandoned building where they argue over the evening's events. Q, Raheem and Steel become angry at Bishop for killing Quiles, and Raheem demands that Bishop give the gun to him; Bishop resists, and a struggle ensues between the two, ending when Bishop retorts by shooting Raheem dead. Panicked, Bishop, Q and Steel run to another building, where Bishop stashes the murder weapon and threatens to kill Q and Steel if they reveal to anybody what has transpired. Soon thereafter the trio are picked up and questioned by Police. Without any concrete evidence, they are all soon released.

Days later, Q and Steel realize that Bishop is fracturing, breaking down into both friend and threat while becoming addicted to the thrill of "juice". They agree to give Bishop as wide a berth as possible. However, while attending Raheem's funeral, the two see Bishop there. Bishop subverts his betrayal, and even goes as far as to hug Raheem's mother and promise to find his killer. Afterwards, Q and Steel are mostly able to avoid Bishop, but he eventually finds them and confronts them one at a time, questioning their loyalty.

One day, the Puerto Rican gang see Bishop on his own and attack him. Bishop sees Q and Steel walking past ignoring him. By this time, the gang leader Radames brings out a knife but the police arrive. The gang runs away, whilst Bishop chases Radames. Bishop manages to find him alone, and kills him with the same gun. In blood lust, Bishop wields his newly found ego with authority but rethinks his position. In order to cover his tracks, he begins a plan to frame Q for the murders of Quiles, Raheem, Radames and the near fatal shooting of Steel. Fearful of Bishop, Q resorts to buying a gun of his own for protection. Meanwhile, Bishop confronts Steel and leads him into an empty alley, where he shoots him, suspecting him of disloyalty. Steel survives the initial attack and is able to make it to the hospital, where he informs Q's girlfriend Yolanda (Cindy Herron) all of Bishop's plans. Fed up with the sudden tension and fears that guns have brought him, Q throws his own gun into the river and decides to confront Bishop unarmed.

That night, Q and Bishop meet nearby, where a fist fight ensues. Q flees and Bishop gives chase, firing wild and shoots Q in the arm. The youth is subsequently chased into a high-rise building, where he runs into a crowded elevator. Bishop follows, firing the gun and is swarmed by a group of party-goers, losing his weapon in the commotion. Q stumbles into the party, following a fleeing Bishop, who lures him, ducking outside a window to the rooftop. Bishop and Q finally confront each other face to face with Q gaining the upper hand and punching Bishop, who falls over the ledge. Bishop calls out for Q as he grabs his hand, struggling to hold onto him. Tired and wounded, Q loses his grip and Bishop falls to his death.

As Q turns to leave, he looks back to see a large crowd from the party gathered behind him. One of the kids in the crowd looks to Q and says, "Yo, you got the juice now, man." Q stares at him, shakes his head in disgust and starts off. The film ends with a flashback of the four friends together in happier times as Bishop yells, "Wreckin' Crew!"


The film received generally favorable reviews.[4] Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 83% "fresh" rating based on 18 reviews.[5] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, praising the film as "one of those stories with the quality of a nightmare, in which foolish young men try to out-macho one another until they get trapped in a violent situation which will forever alter their lives.".[6] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grading, based on how it depicts four young characters who try to gain complete self-control over their surroundings.

The film is an inflammatory morality play shot through with rage and despair. Like Boyz N the Hood and Straight Out of Brooklyn, it asks: When every aspect of your environment is defined by violence, is it possible to avoid getting sucked into the maelstrom?[7]

Dickerson also received praised for his directorial skills:

Coming out from behind Spike Lee's camera, Ernest Dickerson has instantly arrived at the forefront of the new wave of black directors. His film aims for the gut, and hits it.[7]


  • Tupac Shakur as Roland Bishop, the main antagonist of the film. A member of The Wrecking Crew and the most violent of the four. He is usually seen smoking. He wants mostly respect, as he and his friends are regularly harassed by authorities. After killing a convenience store owner named Quiles, he starts to spiral into darkness, first by killing Raheem, and then gang leader Radames. He quickly realizes that he must kill the witnesses to his crimes, who just so happen to be the remaining members of his crew. After he kills Radames, he attempts to kill Steel, but Steel survives. At the climax of the movie, Bishop confronts Q which ensues in a chase between the two. In the end, after a fight on the roof, Q grabs Bishop after he almost falls, but is unable to hold him.
  • Omar Epps as Quincy "Q" Powell. A member of The Wrecking Crew and the most sensible of the four. Unlike his friends, he knows right from wrong. He tries out for a DJ audition and makes it, followed by a robbing he was not aware of until last minute. When Bishop kills Raheem, Q is horrified as he and Bishop have been friends since second grade. At the climax of the movie, he is the only one untouched by Bishop and demands that he meets him to settle things, as Bishop has framed him for the killings of characters throughout the movie.
  • Khalil Kain as Raheem Porter. A member of The Wrecking Crew and presumably the leader. He usually takes it upon himself to protect his friends, as depicted earlier in the movie, when he breaks up a potential fight between them and Radames, and when he stops Bishop from taking part in a friend's robbery which resulted in the friend's death. After robbing Quiles's store with his friends, he declares they must get rid of the gun, but is killed by Bishop after trying to take the gun from him.
  • Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins as Eric "Steel" Thurman. A member of The Wrecking Crew and the most sensitive of the four. He is usually ridiculed because of his weight, usually called "Big Chops" by Bishop. After the death of Raheem at Bishop's hands, he and Q decide to stay as far away from him as possible, but Bishop sees him in the hallway in his building. Steel makes a phone call from Trips's store asking Q for help, but Bishop finds out and shoots him in the back alley. Steel narrowly survives the shot and makes it to the hospital where he tells Q's girlfriend that Q is being framed by Bishop.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Trip, the local store owner. The Wrecking Crew is usually seen in his store either playing video games, smoking, or just talking. Bishop lies to him, framing Q for the murders throughout the movie. Trip plays a role in the final showdown, as Q asks Trip to let Bishop know Q wants to see him.


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. U.S. R&B
1991 Juice
  • Released: December 31, 1991
  • Label: MCA
17 3
  • US: Gold


  1. ^ "Juice (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. 1992-03-03. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  2. ^ Fox, David J. (1992-01-13). "'Juice' Ads Raise Fears of Violence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  3. ^ Gregory, Deborah (1992-01-24). "New York Story". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  4. ^ Turan, Kenneth (1992-01-17). "Is This 'Juice' Fresh?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  5. ^ "Juice". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  6. ^ "Juice". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  7. ^ a b "News Review: Juice". Entertainment Weekly. 1992-01-24. 

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