Dead Presidents
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Albert Hughes and his brother Allen Hughes followed their striking debut Menace II Society with this ambitious look at the social and political lives of the African-American community in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) is a young man coming of age in the Bronx in 1968. Working two part-time jobs -- one as a milkman's helper and another for local numbers runner Kirby (Keith David) -- Anthony is torn between doing the right thing and trying to get by in a environment that offers few opportunities to young black men. After graduating from high school, Anthony… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Dead Presidents may eventually box itself into a narrative dead end, but its muscular engagement of weighty themes and explosive situations makes it a powerful drama."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"It's an overly ambitious effort that strains to work as a coming-of-age drama, a 1960s period piece and a searing comment on the way African American GIs went largely unappreciated for their war efforts."
‑ Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle
"The intense and excessive climactic set piece caper scene is the only true highlight in a superficial film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Excellent performances, a great soundtrack, and the Hughes' technical virtuosity make it worth a look."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"All directors experience a "second-movie slump," and as far as slumps go, this one is more than honorable."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Film Scouts
"There are intriguing aspects to this yarn, and the brothers can choreograph a scene, but you get the impression that they learned all they know from other movies, the blood and guts is gratuitous..."
‑ , Time Out
"What emerges is an uneasy blend of didacticism and juiced-up bloodletting (the brothers don't know when to stop with the exploding squibs) that bury the film's message and its good intentions."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Platoon lite with a bitter ending that doesn't work in its favor..."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Film Threat
"Talent of Hughes brothers deserves viewer's attention even when their results don't meet such high standards."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"It features lots of heartache, a downer of an ending, and even some nasty bloodshed. But in the end, it just feels like they forgot to add something in there, but it still comes out as a pretty good film nonetheless."
‑ Ted Prigge, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"Like those overreaching sophomore term papers we can all laugh at now, this disappointing film may free the Hughes brothers to move on to fresher, more inspired work."
‑ Caryn James, New York Times
"Made with fluid skill and a passion for storytelling, its tale of how the Vietnam War and American society affect a black Marine remains accessible while confounding expectations."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Significant as both history and film art, this gloomy tale has no "convenient" villains and refuses to indulge in stereotypes, instead focusing on larger forces, such as racism and political apathy."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Unfortunately, the filmmakers were overzealous in trying to cover a variety of issues, leaving the story choppy and without resolution in places."
‑ Pat Kramer, Boxoffice Magazine
"Tate gives a strong performance as Anthony but much of this movie unfolds predictably -- the kind of action you've seen a hundred times in movies before and a thousand times on television."
‑ Barbara Shulgasser, San Francisco Examiner
More reviews for Dead Presidents on Rotten Tomatoes

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