Boyz N The Hood

South central Los Angeles wasn't an ideal neighborhood to come of age in the early 1990s given the rampant drug problems and gang violence. John Singleton's debut as a director captures the scene perfectly, following the lives of Doughboy (Ice Cube), Chris (Redge Green), Ricky (Morris Chestnut), and Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as they try and navigate the mean streets of the 'hood.

Even 20 years after its powerful debut, Boyz n The Hood is one of the most realistic depictions of urban life in America. It portrays the hazards that inner-city youth constantly battle—poverty, rampant drug and alcohol use, broken families, and gang violence. Each of the main characters face their own personal struggles, and Lawrence Fishburne delivers a career-defining performance as Furious, Tre's wise father who dishes out advice on life and survival.

For a 20-year-old catalog title, Sony has done a commendable job with the presentation. Detail and textures are strong, although the image can look a tad flat with not much depth. The color palette is one of its strongest features with bold primaries, but the black levels leave a little to be desired, especially during the nighttime sequences.

The DTS-MA 5.1 soundtrack features strong dynamics and frequency response, but the rap-centric score is a little too heavy in the LFE, obscuring other details. For the most part, the dialog is intelligible and clean, although the occasional scene sounds a tad thin compared to modern soundtracks.

Supplements include an audio commentary, an outstanding retrospective featurette, interviews with the cast that took place during principal photography, deleted scenes, two music videos, audition videos, and BD-Live access.

This is Singleton's strongest film by far in his 20 year career, and it features fabulous performances (especially Fishburne). The presentation is solid considering its age, and if you haven't had a chance to see it before, it's never looked or sounded better on home video. Recommended.

Release Date: July 19, 2011
Studio: Sony

Movie: 4.5/5
Picture: 4/5
Sound: 4/5

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