in about 100 words or less
US 127m, Colour
Director: Spike Lee; Cast: Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson
Chi-Raq is intended as an amusing satirical musical drama that attempts to address gun violence in Chicago’s south side. Loosely based on a Classical Greek comedy, the updated and long-winded message of “no peace, no pussy” does little, except to further ingrain cultural and gender stereotypes. Perhaps as culturally relevant as West Side Story (1961), and just as corny, the rappin’ and rhymin’ characters of Chi-Raq are laughable cartoonish products of our time. Unfortunately, Lee tries too hard to deliver a message that is simultaneously serious and entertaining, which is both off-putting and undermining to any serious debate (Klaus Ming January 2016).