“Chi-Raq” is introduced to us by Dolmedes’ wonderful narration. Samuel L. Jackson brings back that old school Spike Lee charm, as we learn about the world of this exploitation fetishized Chicago. Gangbangers are fighting, preachers are trying to control the masses and the police are just looking for people to shoot. Eventually, Lysistrata teams up with the other women of the inner city to stage a sex protest. No lovin’ until the violence ends and sanity returns to the streets.
Nick Cannon delivers an amazing turn as the gangster Chi-Raq who works to challenge Lysistrata’s control of the carnal supply. Chi-Raq and Lysistrata bump heads through their personal relationship and their respective duties to their factions, but do we stay with them? Of course not, as Spike Lee doesn’t give a damn about your traditional narrative. The audience is flown through the city to visit John Cusack, Jennifer Hudson and D.B. Sweeney as life in the city carries in spite of the cries of “No Peace, No Pussy”.
Wesley Snipes role as the gang leader Cyclops embraces the cartoonish aspects of the film, but that’s to be expected. When you’re delivering a message this serious, there’s one of two ways to go about it. You either preach to the masses or you slam them to the ground with the absurdity of the situation. Spike Lee stands in the middle, but his true strengths lie in the absurdity of mass death going ignored. That scene of Jennifer Hudson mopping up her child’s blood is going to stay with me as one of my favorite scenes of 2015.
RELEASE DATE: 12/4/2015