"One out of 21 black American males will be murdered in their lifetime. Most will die at the hands of another black male." These facts are flashed on the screen at the start of Boyz in the Hood. This powerfully realized film is set in a troubled South Central Los Angeles neighborhood where violence and drive-by shootings are the everyday norm.
Frustrated by her inability to discipline her ten-year-old son Tre (Desi Arnez Hines II), Reva Styles (Angela Basset) hands him over to his father, her ex-husband Furious (Lawrence Fishburne), with orders to make him a man. That's a daunting task given their violence-prone neighborhood where thieves break into houses at night and police helicopters hover in the sky trying to spot trouble. Nonetheless, Furious teaches his son about respect, responsibility, sex, and how to restrain himself during violent encounters. This moral grounding helps Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) seven years later when gangs control the streets and people are paralyzed with fear. Tre is dating Brandi (Nia Long), a Catholic girl who like him is planning to escape the neighborhood by attending college. Tre's best friend Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is already married. He's a high school football star who is confident of getting an athletic scholarship. His older half-brother Doughboy (Ice Cube) has done time in prison and views the future with cynicism.
A random scuffle one evening leads to a confrontation with gang members who shoot and kill Ricky. While Doughboy and his friends vow revenge, Tre must come face-to-face with peer pressure and his own definition of what it means to be a man. How he responds to this volatile situation will determine his destiny.
While many filmmakers have given us dramas about urban violence, drugs, and poverty, few have dealt with the moral fortitude that it takes to survive in such a dehumanized environment. Boyz in the Hood is the story of one black boy's coming-of-age armed with the ideas, ideals, and hardiness given to him by his tough-but-tender father.
Writer and director John Singleton has done a remarkable job portraying the strength of character needed to grow up sensitive and responsible. This movie speaks to our hearts with its messages about responsibility, manhood, friendship, hope, self-esteem, and prosocial behavior.
DVD features include deleted scenes, "Friendly Fire: The Making of an Urban Legend," and the music videos of Compton's Most Wanted's "Growing Up In the Hood" and Tevin Campbell's "Just Ask Me To."