Harsh Times on IMDB What I expected this movie to be about when I saw the preview weeks ago was a Mexican thug who becomes a cop and ends up in a tug of war mentally between the streets and his role as a cop. Instead what I saw was something of a cross between Training Day and Friday. It was a story about the lives of 2 Latinos in the barrio of Echo Park in LA. Like most kids who done dirt in the hood and the main character did dirt in Iraq, they got issues but their lives have come to a point where they are going to leave the past behind, get real jobs and go straight. However, the hood is still in them; they are into drugs, cheap liquor, scuffling with the local gangs and traffiking dope. All this drama leads to a vague but disturbing climax as the hood takes these guys under.
What I liked about this movie:
The setting....there hasn't been any movies lately that capture that East LA flava; I think this caught that in the best way ever since Mi Vida Loca back in 1993.
The women...Or should I say "Firme Hienas"(thats Latin Lingo there for ya)?All the ladies in this flick were hella tight! The main character had a girl he was going to marry who lived in Mexico; and she was the bomb. You dont see many hot Latinas in the movies these days, but there were plenty in this movie.
The Latino street culture...This movie portrayed it well, at least as good as it gets in the movies.
The message.....I thought that despite all the flaws this movie had, there was a positive message for all the youngsters out there who are attracted to the "thug life", and this movie addressed the affects of war on peoples psyche, and the sacredness of human life.
What I Didn't Like......
The soundtrack....Im not talking about what they will put out in the stores, but what I heard in the movie. Instead of some LA gangsta rap, reggeaton, or even salsa, I heard alot of old stuff I havent heard in like 12 years, like the 2 Live Crew, MC Breed, and the song "Dazzey Dukes". West Coast Latino rap is getting popular, and there are plenty of artists out like Mr Shadow, Mr Sancho, Lil' Rob, NB Ridaz, Mr Capone-E, and the list goes on. Also, why no special appearences of these rappers, or maybe even B-Real, Sen Dog, Frost, Chino XL, T-Bone, etc could have had guest appearences or cameos in the movie.
Christian Bale....he was so annoying. I think he was good for the part, but why all the serious overacting?
Uneccesary drama...In one scene, they are sitting in a bar, and some guy they are doing "bizness" with gets murdered, and hes all on the ground, bleeding and blood is all over the ground. That was one scene that didnt add or take away from the story, really. This and some other scenes were too over the top and excessive.
The ending...On the one hand, you can take the ending and read too much into the symbolism and hidden meanings of the movie. On the other hand, you can just come to the conclusion that this movie was going nowhere and needed to end in any way possible because people's patience generally runs out after two hours.
If you havent seen it yet....I suggest, wait for it to come out on DVD! That should be next month. Check out the review on PopMatters