A pretty entertaining little story about a moll, a sap, a numbers runner, and a kingpin in 1920′s Harlem. The half-assed noir plot is as follows: the loot from a train heist falls into Robin Givens hands, who ends up in Harlem trying to exchange the gold for cash. While she’s there, she gets entangled with Forest Whitaker’s good Christian boy, who helps her on her quest. The plot is decent, but the movie is all about its style. Its slightly stylized 20′s environment is very lively and entertaining, the characters are all memorable and interesting. Danny Glover and Gregory Hines are great as gangsters who get caught up in the chaos, and Forest Whitaker turns in a typically great, likable performance.
But the real scene stealer is Robin Givens. Man, this woman may have married Mike Tyson, but back in the day, she was baddddd. Her dialogue is minimal, but she does not overdo the femme fatale angle to earn her sensuality; rather, her natural energy makes her seem like she’d be fine without her body, but she knows it makes her life easier that she has it. She controls rooms of men, and she knows it, but does not show that she knows it. It’s a performance that could’ve easily fallen in the pattern of Kathleen Turner in Body Heat or Jennifer Lange in The Postman Always Rings Twice, but she keeps it more reigned in than that. That being said, her body is on display for most of her screen time, and it is cinematic unto itself; the charisma and charm is just a terrific bonus.
Recommended for fans of modern noirs, 20′s decadence, or Robin Givens. This is a great movie to watch on an early afternoon or late at night. Very cool, pulpy vibe, if not the most original thing in the world.