This urban horror anthology starts with a cool animated segment suggesting a hip-hop, weed-inspired 'Heavy Metal' (with Snoop’s cartoon caricature looking eerily like Tupac!). And as the film’s version of the Crypt Keeper, the dope-smoking, uber-laid back rapper comes off like a slyly menacing Rudy Ray Moore...but just think about that, is being the next 'Dolemite' really an achievement? Mind you, you could also make connections to Cosby’s role on the immortal “Fat Albert”. Call this film 'Fat Albert' and 'Dolemite' meet 'Tales From the Crypt', then. Hey, hey, hey...Let’s smoke a joint!
Anyway, the film deserves particular kudos for featuring wannabe cool gangstas getting offed in the most unglamorous (and wonderfully gory), most appropriately stupid manner possible- with a guy slipping over and a beer bottle goes through his skull, being just about the damndest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I wouldn’t call the film anti-gangsta rap, especially given Snoop’s presence, but kudos anyway for making these wannabe gangstas look like the tools and fools they clearly are.
The first of the film’s stories (the one featuring the dumb-as-hell ghetto stereotypes and a vengeful Daniella Alonso who wipes out some local gangsta thugs) is the best, with an appearance by an uglier-than-usual Danny Trejo a highlight, getting the segment’s best and last line ‘Now that’s life imitating art!.’ The second story is a bit too heavy-handed, but benefits majorly from the presence of old pro Ernie Hudson, though I could’ve done without the scene where a yappy Chihuahua (which I hate) gets shot, never cool to see. It has a most memorably icky finale, too. Anyway, that one concerns a white trash couple (Anson Mount and Brande Broderick) who clash with black war veterans (led by Hudson) in a house the couple must live in for a year in order to claim an inheritance. The third story, a dopey (once again, pun not intended) 'Hustle & Flow' meets Frank Capra (stuck-up gangsta rapper learns to be a better person when stuck in a room with Lin Shaye and the reanimated corpse of his DJ friend!), is almost weak enough to subtract some from my final score. It does, however, venture into amusing John Landis territory with the arrival of a talking corpse, and there’s a funny line in there about hip-hop artists referencing God in awards acceptance speeches.
If it were not for this segment, the film would be really terrific, as is, it’s a lot better than it has any right to be, and quite fun.