Writer: Joshua Beirne-Golden, Justin Tipping (Screenplay)
Starring: Jahking Guillory, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Christopher Meyer, Kofi Siriboe, Mahershala Ali, Rxchie
Plot: Brandon is a 15 year old whose dream is a pair of fresh Air Jordans. Soon after he gets his hands on them, they’re stolen by a local hood, causing Brandon and his two friends to go on a dangerous mission through Oakland to retrieve them.
Tagline – They aren’t just shoes.
Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Shoe Mentality
Story: Kicks starts as we meet 15-year-old Brandon (Guillory) who comes from a poor family in Oakland, whose pride and joy would be to have a pair of Air Jordans. When Brandon buys some black-market versions of the shoes, only to have them stolen by local hood Flaco (Siriboe).
Wanting to get his shoes back, he goes on an adventure with his two best friends Albert (Wallace) and Rico (Meyer) which sees him dive into the gang mentality of the neighbourhood in Oakland.
Thoughts on Kicks
Characters – Brandon has come from a poor family, he knows how to stay out of trouble usually using his running pace, he has always wanted to have his own pair of Air Jordans, which he purchases, making him feel like he is on top of the world. After they are stolen, he risks his friendship to get them back from on of the most dangerous men in the hood. Albert and Rico are the two best friends of Brandon, they have their own characteristics which makes the group complete and will help Brandon retrieve his shoes. Flaco is the man that steals Brandon’s shoes, he uses his gang to outnumber him and is considered one of the most dangerous men in the neighbourhood.
Performances – Jahking Guillory in the leading role is great to watch, he has shows us how difficult being a kid in the wrong neighbourhood can be. We understand his character’s decisions and feeling of hopelessness in the world he is facing. The supporting cast are great too, fully embrace themselves in this neighbourhood.
Story – The story here follows a teenager that ends up starting a potential gang war after his shoes are stolen and he wants to take them back from a notorious gang leader. This story shows us how important the little things in the kids in this gangland mentality neighbourhoods mean the world and how they will do anything to get what they need. The shoes are clearly metaphors for becoming a man which in this neighbourhood is one of the most important moments in the lives of these teenagers. Watching from the outside, we are watching the people involved fighting over a pair of shoes which does seem almost pointless in the end.
Settings – The film is set in Oakland which shows us how the neighbourhood is being operated in by the different gangs.
Final Thoughts –This is an interesting coming-of-age stories in the tough street of Oakland, it shows how difficult to navigate for the locals this will be.
Overall: Interesting Coming-of-age tale.