True to the AIP studio tradition, the amateurish HOMEBOYS is an ultra-low-budget, teen-oriented genre film quickly produced to capitalize on contemporary trends. Emilio and Hector Sanchez (Ron Odriozola and Keo Michaels) are brothers raised in an East LA barrio. Emilio becomes a college-educated cop, while homeboy Hector joins the neighborhood gang, the...read more
True to the AIP studio tradition, the amateurish HOMEBOYS is an ultra-low-budget, teen-oriented genre film quickly produced to capitalize on contemporary trends.
Emilio and Hector Sanchez (Ron Odriozola and Keo Michaels) are brothers raised in an East LA barrio. Emilio becomes a college-educated cop, while homeboy Hector joins the neighborhood gang, the High Rollers. The "gang-bangers" become involved in a turf war with the rival Bloods and a drug-laced
sting operation with an undercover cop. The older Emilio continually warns his brother about the dangers of gang life, but his moralistic lectures meet with angry rejection. Hector recruits their little brother Luis into the High Rollers. Meanwhile, Emilio falls in love with Vanessa (Sigrid
Salazar), an anti-gang social crusader. He deepens his resolve to fight gang activity, despite being harangued by Officer Murphy (David Garrison), his racist partner.
Violence between the Black and Hispanic gangs escalates. After Bloods kill one of Hector's group in a drive-by shooting, the High Rollers retaliate, accidentally killing a young child. Emilio finds a black headband at the scene of the crime--evidence that Hector's gang was involved. Despite
warnings from Murphy, the rookie cop chases down his brother and warns him that police are onto his crimes. Unrepentant, the other members of the gang, led by Ramon, murder the undercover policeman who had posed as their drug supplier. They then take Vanessa and Emilio hostage. But when Hector
sees what they have done he turns against Ramon and helps the couple escape.
In a final act of revenge against the Sanchez brothers the remaining High Rollers abduct Luis. Police surround their house and a shootout takes place: Murphy is shot and wounded; Ramon shoots one gang member himself, cops kill another; Hector finally kills Ramon. Afterwards, just as Emilio
convinces his brother to start his life over, gang turncoat Hector is killed in yet another vengeful drive-by shooting.
A weak imitation of films like John Singleton's BOYZ N THE HOOD, Dennis Hopper's COLORS and Joseph B. Vasquez's HANGIN' WITH THE HOMEBOYS, this AIP cheapie obviously seeks to capitalize on the success of the aforementioned fresh, gritty portayals of gang life, urban ghetto neighborhoods and
racially charged conflicts with police. However, HOMEBOYS fails to convey any of the slice-of-life drama or sincere social engagement that its precursors created.
Not only does it fall short in terms of performance (clumsy acting, lifeless ersatz hip-hop music) and production values (home-movie sets, a cliche-ridden screenplay), this direct-to-video effort appropriates the look and talk of the "homeboy" genre in obviously exploitive ways. Stereotypical
white racist cops, bloody drive-by shootings and gang "colors" are paraded for their own sake, in hopes that such hot-button issues might sell in the climate of the Rodney King beating. Pale moralizing about such acute social problems comes out of the character's mouths, but their insincerity only
compounds the film's shamelessness. And, as if realizing this bad faith, violence and racial animus might not sell enough videos, plenty of gratuitous female nudity is thrown in to boot.
In a final act of schlockmeistery, HOMEBOYS promotes itself as starring Todd Bridges of "Different Strokes" fame. But Bridges appears in only one scene. His character, a kid from the projects who shunned crime for the straight life of an advertising executive, rings no truer than any other in this
sham homeboy drama. (Violence, profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)
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