I remember like it was yesterday when it was the early 90’s and Hollywood was deep into the street/urban drama scene with film such as Boyz n the Hood, Menace II Society, and more. But one of the best ones from that genre was Juice, thanks to its cast, amazing soundtrack, and relatable story for those growing up in the streets. Now Paramount brings this epic to the high definition realm with the Juice: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray that still has the street cred it racked up years ago.
In this film, we follow the lives of Q (Omar Epps), Bishop (the late and great Tupac Shakur), Raheem (Khalil Kain), and Steel (Jermaine Hopkins), four friends trying their best to survive the streets of Harlem while having fun ditching classes and getting into all sorts of mild trouble. Out of all of them, only Q is trying to do something with himself by practicing to be a deejay. As they grow tired of living in fear on the streets, they decide to rob a local liquor store to build up some money and respect on the streets. Of course this doesn’t turn out the way they had hoped as Bishop gets a gun and everything spirals out of control from there as the friends are torn apart and it falls on Q to set things right.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this film, but I gotta say it holds up pretty good despite its dated slang and setting. It was also fun to see famous actors back in their day such as Samuel L. Jackson and Queen Latifah in some of their earliest roles. The movie also looks and sounds good thanks to being updated in high definition, which is always a plus to the visuals that look better than ever, and the still epic soundtrack that pumps through nicely. When the streets have settled down, you can listen to the audio commentary featuring director Ernest R. Dickerson where he talks about working with the talented cast, shooting the film and more interesting insights into the making of the movie.
Other extras include “You’ve Got the Juice Now” that gives viewers a look at the making of the film and features new interviews with director Ernest R. Dickerson, producer David Heyman and actors Omar Epps, Khalil Kain and Jermaine Hopkins. One that I really enjoyed was “The Wrecking Crew” where some of the cast talked about how they became close friends while filming, and of course about how Tupac Shakur brought his talent and genius on and off the set. There’s also another great extra going into the awesome soundtrack to the movie (which I remember fondly having on cassette back in the day), and an old interview with the four lead cast members going into the film’s message and how doing the movie affected them.
If you’re into street dramas and/or classic ones, you’ll want to take a sip of the Juice: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. It still holds up nicely thanks to a great cast, an epic soundtrack, and some cool extras that show this release knows where the ledge is.