Urban Menace

When Master P started making movies a few years back, co-writing, co-directing, and/or co-starring in seven films since 1997, he set a seemingly impossible standard for awful urban filmmaking. Incredibly, though, his work has been eclipsed by a new generation of hip-hop filmmakers (MC Breed, Big Ballers), each seemingly dedicated to proving that hip-hop films can always get worse. Urban Menace wasn't written or directed by a rapper. Instead, it was directed by über-hack Albert Pyun (whose 33 films since 1986 eclipse even the prolific P) and written by newcomer Tim Story, neither of whom are known for their rhyming skills. Still, Urban Menace bears all the trademarks of a film written or directed by a rapper, from its simple yet incomprehensible plot (something about an inner-city ghost killing off gangstas) to its truncated running time, to its sub-community-theater acting, to its bargain-basement production values. A top-billed Snoop Dogg and his stunt double—who, in an unintentional nod to Plan 9 From Outer Space, seems to have more screen time than Dogg himself—star in Urban Menace as a ghostly apparition responsible for the deaths of numerous hoodlums. These ne'er-do-wells are employed by gargantuan rappers and novice actors Fat Joe and Big Pun, who set a new standard for bad acting in a 'hood film by visibly reading their lines off cue cards located barely off-screen. Leading off with a brief introduction by third-billed Ice-T, Urban Menace is pretty mind-boggling as would-be entertainment, from its washed-out, filter-crazy look to its incomprehensible dialogue—Big Pun mumbles his lines like he's in the midst of an asthma attack—to its unnecessary and cryptic opening title cards. Unintentionally funny moments are scattered throughout Urban Menace; it's hard not to laugh at a movie in which the character played by Big Pun actually wears a Big Pun T-shirt. But those looking for unintentional laughs are better off sticking with Da Game Of Life, Dogg's film with P, or simply waiting for that Insane Clown Posse movie.

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