FILM / Critical Round-Up

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The Independent Culture

'For its genre, this is a superior film. The Harlem youths are well portrayed; the rap sounds could get the oldest bones shaking. And it all comes wrapped in a moral.' Geoff Brown, Times

'There is no denying the lively playing of the young cast and Dickerson's strong narrative drive. This is not your usual cinematographer's film, all photographic finery. But it isn't above a slickness that may sell tickets but doesn't fill the mind.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

'With its two-dimensional characters and trite moralising, this film would have been laughed off the screen if presented by white film-makers with white actors in white roles. But we cannot laugh with the cinema of Spike Lee and his acolytes. Although some of those film-makers, like Lee himself, are talented social satirists, most like Mr Dickerson are bargain-basement disciples empowered and encouraged only by the mighty karma of PC.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'The plot is largely conventional . . . and there are no drugs here. It work well as a thriller, stylishly shot. The result is entertaining, energetic and engaging, and without the feeling of difficult truths being forgotten. For rap/hip hop fans, the original soundtrack is by Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy.' Wally Hammond, Time Out


'The dialogue has to be heard to be believed and the skating has to be seen to be disbelieved, trick editing and all. Thin ice is the expression that most often comes to mind. But those who made this film must really be pretty thick.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian

'Hokum so wholehearted earns affection if not admiration. It skates over every known emotion in the pop melodramatic rink, while never pausing to make an original incision.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

'Only a lobotomised ice-skating obsessive could find anything praiseworthy in all this predictable, romantic, ham-fisted tosh.' Nigel Kendall, Time Out