Kicks 2016 Movie Scene Jahking Guillory as Brandon and Christopher Meyer as Rico watching a fight at school with Brandon looking at the guys Air Jordan shoes

Kicks [2016]

Where my hood movies at? Do you remember just how many hood movies there were in the nineties? There were so many of them that we even got a parody, Don’t Be a Menace, making fun of the whole genre. As we got to the mid-2000s, we started seeing less and less of them. I think that Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was the last big movie I saw. It was a sign of the coming change as movies about popular black artists took over the subgenre. I’m talking about movies like Notorious, Straight Outta Compton, and All Eyez on Me. After this little stroll down memory lane, it’s time to talk about this highly underrated hidden gem from 2016.

Kicks is a gripping, authentic, and gritty coming-of-age story set in the hood. It follows Brandon, a 15-year-old kid who dreams about having a really good pair of sneakers. Both of his friends, Rico and Albert have them along with all the other cool kids. And it would appear that if you’ve got a good pair of kicks like Air Jordan’s, you can do anything. You can hook up with girls, become instantly popular, and get everything else a teenager would want. Brandon is willing to do anything to get them Air Jordan’s and this will lead him to all kinds of dangerous situations. So, this is basically a hood adventure, Training Day but with youngins. 

The pacing is nice and steady, the characters well-developed and the running time is quite short (only 80 minutes). So, Kicks is a movie you can play any time and I suggest you do that sooner rather than later. It’s just quirky enough not to be pretentious and it successfully captures not just the hood but also that feeling of being young. The production values are excellent and just because you didn’t hear about this movie, don’t think it’s going to look shitty. Mostly because it won’t and I especially liked the slow-motion scenes. Since the pacing is not fast, you can think about the things you’re seeing on the screen.

Kicks also offers a look into the seedy criminal underbelly of Richmond, California. And it looks exactly how you think it looks. A vicious circle driven by primal desires that hasn’t changed much since the eighties and the introduction of crack. I’m not going to go into the whole racial stereotyping thing or exploitation questions as this is not that type of a movie. Although I do recommend you check American Fiction. My Pafology, that shit still cracks me up. All the people we’re going to be meeting in this movie seem real. However, I wonder do people still steal sneakers? I mean, I grew up in the nineties so I can confirm that this was a thing back then.

And if you’re wondering was I like Brandon, trying to define my whole personality with a pair of cool sneakers, yes, yes I was. I chose Converse because they were not so mainstream but were still considered cool. Another aspect of this movie that I loved was the soundtrack consisting mostly of The Notorious B.I.G. songs. It’s interesting that my favorite Biggie song is Gimme the Loot, a quite appropriate number considering the story in this movie. Speaking of which, you better get ready for some pretty fucked up scenes. Scenes showing just how dangerous and damaging life in the hood can be.

Moreover, you have a feeling that anything can happen in Kicks. People can and will get beaten, robbed, and killed. This gives it an edge and makes it really intense. Our young cast led by Jahking Guillory was excellent. I should also mention his two buddies Christopher Meyer and Christopher Jordan Wallace who were just as good. We also have the imposing presence of Mahershala Ali and the menacing company of Kofi Siriboe who plays Flaco. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Kicks, check out another hood adventure that is Dope. And if you’re looking for something with a real feel to it, Alpha Dog awaits.

Director: Justin Tipping

Writers: Joshua Beirne-Golden, Justin Tipping

Cast: Jahking Guillory, Christopher Meyer, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Kofi Siriboe, Mahershala Ali

Fun Facts: The real price for the Air Jordan’s is around $170 and not $350 like in the movie. The original price for the sneakers when they were released back in 1985 was $65. If you account for inflation and all the other parameters that comes around to $180 in today’s dollars.


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