Stylish, Spiritually Inclined Gangster Movie...
Produced by Alicia J. Keyes (no, not that one), with the writing and direction from Mateo Frazier and Diego Joaquin Lopez, two first timers, have put together an ambitious debut film, that aspires to be a lot of things, all at once. It was quite a risk to take this approach, but, in actual fact works fairly well. It isn't a perfect film, by any stretch of the imagination, but it appears to ultimately achieve, what the team were trying for, which is all one can ask. The last film I reviewed that was comparable to this was Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, another low-budget gangster movie, but through the eyes of an Italian-American hood. Blaze You Out is about Latino gangsters, and a pair of sisters, caught up in something they know nothing about.
Five years ago, Lupe and Alicia lost their mother, so now Lupe looks after her younger sister as best she can. Lupe is a DJ, with a regular following, who enjoy her stuff, but Alicia is getting to be a handful. Alicia and boyfriend, go to his place to fool around, but while in the middle of sex, a crazy looking bald dude, Whitey (Mark Adair-Rios), sneaks in and surprises them. Whitey tells them he's there to "blaze them out," and then proceeds to make up a loaded heroin shot. At gunpoint, Whitey makes the boyfriend inject himself, but as this is happening, Alicia escapes in her car. The opening scene in Blaze You Out, sees a crazy looking Whitey torture some poor guy with a blowtorch, and he is very convincing.
Alicia rushes home to quickly grab her belongings, and Lupe wants to know why, but Alicia tells her she never listens to her, so why should she care now. They have more words, then Alicia drives away, leaving Lupe in the dark about what has just gone down. Not the greatest idea to have, when a killer is going to hunt for you, and you know the first place he'll look is your home. Whitey tells his mother (who had to chasten him first), about Alicia getting away, to which mother, Dona (Elizabeth Peña) warns him to sort out. Whitey will stop at nothing, and kill anyone who gets in his way, and Dona is as crazy as her son.
The acting in Blaze, is very good, thanks to a very able cast, who give some fine performances. Veronica Diaz-Carranza as Lupe, was very good, with Melissa Cordero playing sister Alicia. It was nice seeing the talented Q'orianka Kilcher (Demi), sporting a massive Mohawk hairdo. Mark Adair-Rios played the cruel Whitey, with much-needed zeal, and may finally get himself noticed, for something other than small TV roles. I'm sure I haven't ever seen Elizabeth Peña play an evil gangsta mama before. The story, at least, isn't too run-of-the-mill gangster, with heavy touches of religious symbolism throughout, and while that isn't quite my thing, I did enjoy the attempt at originality. I found it a little slow during the middle act, but the story, and the telling of said story, were done creatively enough to set that small issue aside. This may have a smaller market than some, but this is a film, anyone into the crime genre should appreciate, and this is definitely better than most opening flicks of this fashion.
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