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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.18%
Worth A Look68.18%
Just Average: 4.55%
Pretty Crappy: 4.55%
Sucks: 4.55%

2 reviews, 10 user ratings

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by Chef ADogg

"A hyperactive trip through wasted urban landscapes."
4 stars

Tupac Shakur's final movie (and Tim Roth's best) is a breathless ride that sweeps the viewer along for an hour and a half, delivering a grimy rush without let up. Actor Vondie Curtis Hall, making his directorial debut, crafts a zippy tale about two smack addicts trying to go clean; there are a few other subplots, but those do not really add to or detract from the central pull of the film. "Gridlock'd" keeps moving, no matter what life throws in the path of its main characters. It's only one of many cinematic roller coaster rides, but it doesn't have that guilty feeling--unlike, say "Go," it doesn't leave you with a stomachache from too much sugar.

That's because Hall diminishes the sweetness of the ride by heaving plenty of dirt at the audience. From the very beginning, we're thrown inside the characters' chaotic lifestyle. Spoon and Stretch, our heroes, live in an ugly hovel covered in dirty clothes and unwashed dishes--you can practically smell the funk that is heaped by layers on to their abode. Residing with the two addicts is a British poet/singer named Cookie. As the film opens, Cookie OD's and the boys rush her to a hospital. As they sit waiting for Cookie to wake from her drug induced coma, they begin to contemplate the way they've been living.

Spoon decides to kick the habit, and he eventually persuades Stretch to do the same. After this, the two are in gear--traveling from one government office to the next, getting nothing but the same runaround everywhre they go. This would get tiresome if not for the two great leads--Shakur and Roth go together like sweet and sour, yin and yang.

Tupac Shakur, with his deep eyes, was headed in the right direction--moving away from his thug roots, his role in "Gridlock'd" is decidedly against type. In previous roles, Pac was always stuck as the stereotypical "gangsta"--his cinematic low was the showy, one note role of Birdy in "Above The Rim." Here, Tupac blossoms into a great film actor, bringing so many dimensions to his character that he nearly overshadows the rest of the film.

Moving with him across the urban canvas is Tim Roth, looking skinner and skankier than ever as Stretch. Stretch lacks the morals and soul of Spoon, Tupac's character, but he more than makes up for it in energy. Roth moves into hyerdrive, roaring around in a haze of profanity and thoughtless actions. Stretch is the humorous half of the duo, and Roth invests him with a deep comic zip. His performance here could best be described as the mugging of "Four Rooms" combined with the substance of "Reservoir Dogs," topped off with the irreverence of his restaurant robbing Pumpkin in "Pulp Fiction."

As the two move through the city, the despair becomes overwhelming, and at parts I was close to tears. The picture can make you crumple with sadness, but it's also very good at making you soar with joy--the scene in which Roth befriends two cops to escape the thugs out to kill him is pure comic genius. If that's not your cup of tea (read: light yuks in a somewhat serious film), there's also a different kind of comedy floating around the edges of the film, evidenced best when Stretch stabs Spoon in the stomach with a pocket knife so they can be admitted to the hospital. There's heavy irony in the scene, but there's also something hurtful in it--it documents both the depth and shallowness of their relationship. In that one moment, the film sums up the innerworkings of a friendship between two men much more powerfully than any other film I've seen.

"Gridlock'd" is all about the rush, but it also digs deeply into the bonds shared by the characters. The film offers something for everyone without stretching itself; it's one of the best films in recent years.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=273&reviewer=123
originally posted: 07/09/99 22:43:58
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User Comments

10/21/03 natalie amazing film 5 stars
4/20/03 Jack Sommersby Original and compelling, but a bit too slight. 3 stars
9/04/01 Butterbean A great adventure about the ills of bureaucracy. 4 stars
2/23/01 Caterina Its a crazy and really good work by Curtis Hall!! 5 stars
12/04/99 PervertedPixie A great double act and farce. I recommend. 4 stars
3/06/99 CYaniDERuSH Thank gods tu pac is dead. Hopefully hip-hop will follow. 1 stars
2/18/99 Piz How long does it take for a movie to get to a point? 2 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Tupac was no rapper. He was a damn artiste. RIP good fellow. 5 stars
8/22/98 Mister Whoopee Tupac was pretty fucking good. What a waste. 4 stars
8/20/98 Mike F this movie is really great. I want to see it again. but I owe blockbuster $13 :( 5 stars
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  29-Jan-1997 (R)



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