South Central (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Milburn Anderson|
|Produced by||William B. Steakley
|Written by||Stephen Milburn Anderson
Donald Bakeer (novel)
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|September 18, 1992|
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 Johnson (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 best friend/fellow gang member Ray Ray (Byron Minns), Loco and Bear. As it turns out, Bobby's girlfriend Carole (LaRita Shelby) gave birth to his son Jimmy (Christian Coleman) while he was incarcerated. The Deuce gang goes out to a club owned by rival drug dealer Genie Lamp to celebrate Bobby's release, but Genie confronts them and threats are exchanged.
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 what he thought was cocaine, but is actually heroin. Genie threatens Bobby and the Deuce gang while he is incapacitated. Bobby returns home the next morning to find that Genie has given some of the same heroin to Carole and flies into a fit of rage. Bobby informs Ray Ray and the Deuce gang makes plans to execute Genie Lamp. They grab Genie in an abandoned warehouse. Despite Genie's pleas for forgiveness, Bobby carries out the execution by firing a gun through a potato into Genie's heart, and the gang flees the area as they hear the police sirens approaching. Later that evening, Ray Ray gives Bobby his "heart", a small tattoo below the left eyelid which is a symbol of full initiation into the Deuce gang and can only be earned by killing an enemy. Later, Bobby comes homes panicking over police looking for him and tells Carole to pack her things and they gotta move.
Some time later, Bobby and Carole are in hiding from the police who are pursuing Genie's murderers. Bobby looks out the window and Ken Dog, another Deuce gang member, pulls up with Loco in a brand new convertible. Ken Dog and Loco solicit the services of a prostitute who turns out to be an undercover cop and arrests them. The guys are taken to jail and Bobby is questioned by a detective for the murder of Genie Lamp. Bobby refuses to cooperate despite overwhelming evidence against him and the police allow him to see his son one last time. Bobby gets a ten-year prison sentence for the murder he committed.
Nearly ten years later, Jimmy is now with the Deuce gang, and meets with 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, and defending his gangster pal, Loco, from a white supremacist-Aryan gang he is indebted over drugs with. Because of his interference, the Aryan gang puts a price on Bobby's head, as he inherits Loco's debt.
Over time, the film shows Jimmy stealing car stereos and selling them to Ray Ray for $20.00 a piece. While stealing one night, Jimmy is caught by Willie Manchester, the owner of the car, and is shot in the back. He is taken to a hospital where he fights for his life. When the news of this reaches Bobby in prison, he leaves the Deuce gang immediately. But not without revenge from the Aryan gang, due to his inherited debt. The Aryan gang eventually captures, assaults and attempts to rape Bobby, only to be interfered by a prison Muslim group, led by Ali. Ali agrees to pay Bobby's debt (with interest) to the Aryans, with Bobby joining Muslim group in exchange.
After months of rehabilitation and mentoring, Ali encourages Bobby to get an education and to go straight when he gets out of prison in order to be a better father to his child (it is revealed during these conversations that Ali is serving a life sentence without parole for murder, and wishes Bobby not to follow in his footsteps). Ali and his associates even remove the Deuce "heart" from Bobby's face. Meanwhile, Jimmy recovers from his gunshot wounds, but is taken to a boys home for the crime he committed because the court has declared Carole an unfit mother.
Bobby is released from prison and goes to the boys home to visit Jimmy. The two begin to talk, but Jimmy is shocked that his father has denounced the Deuce gang and will not seek revenge against Willie Manchester for shooting him. Jimmy leaves the room in anger and insults Bobby for not being the proud Deuce gang leader that Jimmy thought his father would be.
Sometime later, Bobby goes to visit Ray Ray. Ray Ray is initially happy to see Bobby saying the Deuce gang owes him "ten years of their lives" for the time he served in prison. However, Bobby is shocked to find Jimmy has run away from the boys home and Willie has been taken hostage. Ray Ray gives Jimmy a gun and tells him to shoot Willie in revenge so he can get his "heart" just like his father did. Bobby tries to intervene but gets into a fight with Bear. Bobby eventually overpowers Bear, takes his gun, and steps in front of Willie Manchester threatening to kill Ray Ray if this goes any further. He then tells Jimmy that committing a crime against a man can be rectified, but killing a man can't. He tells Ray Ray that the gang owes him ten years and can repay him by giving him back his son. Then he can give his son what the both of them (Bobby and Ray Ray) never had, a father. Bobby sees a sad look on both Jimmy and Ray Ray's faces as everyone lowers their guns. Ray Ray lets Willie go and Jimmy runs into Bobby's arms. Bobby tells Jimmy that eventually the court will let him come home and they will start their lives anew. Touched by Bobby's love for Jimmy, Ray Ray looks on as the Johnsons leave the warehouse.