Hip Hop Locos (2001)

Rating: D

Dir: Lorenzo Munoz Jr.
Star: Unodoz, J10, Manuel Erives, Aubry Flowers

Unodoz and J10 play two Latino rappers, apparently named “Holmes” and “Esse” – hey, that’s what they call each other every sentence, anyway. They decide to raise money so they can lay down their tracks by robbing and killing various drug-dealers, etc. in a one-night killing spree. It’s shot grainy and hand-held, with the obvious aim of adding authenticity to proceedings. That aspect certainly succeeds, but what writer-director Munoz forgets is that authentic isn’t necessarily interesting. I have little initial desire to listen to a pair of wannabe Hispanic gangsturbators for 70 minutes, and Munoz does nothing to change my prejudices. A couple of scenes held my interest, notably a lengthy, brutal strangulation which was an effective antidote to the clean, quick Hollywood kill. However, Munoz’s attempts to jazz things up with visual, or worse, audio effects distract more than they enhance.

Okay, doubt I fall into the target audience for this – though still thought the minimalist hip-hop beats on the soundtrack were not bad. But any age and ethnic differences are not the problem here; the apparent lack of a proper script, or thought given to character development, background and motives, these issues hurt the film far more. It’s significant that the protagonists’ names are the same as the actors, and again, Munoz seems to confuse “real” with insightful or entertaining. Even “reality” television is much less thrown together than this, and with amateur actors, any director would really struggle. Apart from possibly setting a new record for the use of the word “Fuck” in a movie, it’s difficult to give this one much credit, beyond the “Thanks for coming” level.