This is one badass film with a lot of heart. These four lovely ladies give knockout performances in this twist of a heist film. F. Gary Gray is one of the greatest filmmakers, with an ability to craft intense action pictures with complex characters and emotions. Queen Latifah should have received an Academy Award for this film.
The backstories of the girls display its uncertain balance of smarts and melodrama. Their reasons for a life of crime seem lazy or dramatic, or in Queen Latifah character's case, an outlet of personality. The whole film features collisions of genre-revamping and strong characterization (the girls acting like godfathers, Jada Pinkett's relationship with the banker,) and genericism (Latifah's last stand). Uneven.
Main takeaway: to escape "the trap" you sacrifice EVERYTHING, or have it taken. Brutal. Nearly every black character ends up full of bullets. Yet... there's a Sympathetic Cop who doesn't want anyone to get hurt? Basically... the "serious" stuff is inconsistent, weird, but sometimes powerful. Lighter moments shine brighter, the realness of hangin' out. The social critique has teeth, just the vessel for it is flawed.
I think this is a film that belongs in the history books when speaking blackness and black culture. I really loved the development of each character even though there was a lot of time spent on Stoney I did enjoy the way each character unfolded and to date Vivica a fox hasn't acted better. I don't think any of them have acted this well since this film. QUEEN LATIFA is great in this film she stole the show a lot.