Set It Off Review

Set It Off

by William Thomas |
Published on
Release Date:

16 Jul 1997

Running Time:

130 minutes



Original Title:

Set It Off

This latest sisters-are-doing-it-for- themselves-affair begins feistily at the scene of a typical heist. Typical, that is, except that the hard-working teller Frankie (Independence Day's Fox) knows the boys who are wagging the guns in her face (she grew up with them in the same "hood") and ends up getting knuckle-rapped as being in on the whole shenanigan.

As she returns to her hood, now jobless, and meets up with her three childhood friends, lesbian Cleo (Latifah), single mother Tisean (Kimberly Elise) and Stony (Pinkett), - whose brother has been mistakenly shot by police - Frankie hatches the idea of, none too surprisingly, robbing a bank.While it is slightly implausible that she should flip out quite so damn quick, there is almost enough reason for each of the other three women to join her - they all need money, feel downtrodden by society and are trapped in dead-end jobs.

That they should continue to rob banks as the odds of getting away with it shorten (and after they've already notched up $78,000 apiece) is harder to swallow - other than the couldn't-care-less Cleo, who gets an adrenalin rush of seismic proportions from the tirade of looting.

But the whole thing is stylishly and sensually shot (including baby oil love scenes) and has a ballsy soundtrack featuring the likes of Organized Noise and The Geto Boys. The script, too, is likeably clever and there are some tip-top ironic movie references - including a re-enactment of the classic Don Corleone family conference from The Godfather. A welcome, refreshing addition to the female bonding bandwagon.

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