Set It Off
Time Out saysFrankie (Fox) has a bank job - until someone she knows from South Central LA holds her at gun-point, the attempted robbery turns into a blood-bath, and the boss sends her packing. Life gets much harder. Her homegirls (Pinkett, Latifah, Elise) fix her up with the office-cleaning firm where they work nights, but it's not long before they hatch a plan to capitalise on Frankie's qualifications, in particular her inside knowledge of bank security procedures. In the wake of all those gun-toting white women and black men, black women are due their own loaded action adventure. This noir Thelma and Louise rekindles some of the subversive fire of Jonathan Demme's '70s exploitation flicks, although it's far too polished to have come from the Corman stable. The intense heist sequences show a command of thriller dynamics that's right up there with the best of them, but director Gray is equally convincing on the character front, eliciting funny, grounded performances from the four women (Latifah notably refuses to caricature her lesbian role). On the down side, Blair Underwood is too good to be true as the man who comes into Pinkett's life, while the police procedural stuff is strictly routine. Minor misdemeanours, though, given such an energising spree for the Girlz n the hood.