I'm tempted to nitpick at some of the movie's cliche "Hollywood" moments, but it's simply incredible to think this was John Singleton's debut. Boyz N The Hood is complicated, tragic, defiant, and ultimately a landmark in the history of American cinema.
In the vein of Spike Lee's "in your face" political statements, Boyz N the Hood falls flat despite some moments of greatness. Singleton's praise as a writer/director seems somewhat overblown. Nevertheless, this solid depiction of the life in the "hood" features a great turn by Fishburne, whose societal statements are still in tune with today's realities.
A landmark of its genre, though it's pretty dated today. The acting is excellent all around - every performance was genuine and engrossing. The loose plot dragged in places, the story did not seem to be on par with the characters - but there are a number of genuinely intense moments. The overbearing music score ruined several scenes, quashing the drama with melodramatic sentimentality.
Its soundtrack hasn't exactly aged well, but really, the sympathetic characters and gritty presentation transcend any minute flaws or awkwardness. Fishburne's truth-bomb monologue on gentrification is built to and earned, and aside from that, it's never preachy or didactic; just honest, intimate, and vital.
I didn't love or hate Boyz N the Hood. It felt like overrated diet Spike Lee and came off more like a diluted episode of Yo MTV Raps than a platform for the few nuggets of wisdom Laurence Fishburne's character imparted. Ice Cube was fun and I'm sure this is Cuba Gooding Jr's only good performance. Fishburne was great and there wasn't enough Angela Bassett. There's never enough Angela Bassett...
It is dated watching it now, which I guess is obvious with it being so contemporary when released. The clothes and the music will always give this movie a firm timestamp. Ice Cube is the scene stealer in every one he is involved with. A great screen debut