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Dangerous Ground
Starring Ice Cube, Elizabeth Hurley, and Ving Rhames
Directed by Darrell Roodt

Ice Cube's fans are gonna go running to the box office to see Dangerous Ground. Question is, will the sight of their hero be enough to keep them from running out?

Rap superstar Ice Cube takes the lead in what could potentially have been an emotionally satisfying story of loss and redemption; of a man pacifist by nature having to find his internal warrior to help cleanse the earth of human scum; of an exile returning to and re-embracing his homeland. At his side in this journey is the only logical partner -- a crack smoking, model-thin stripper. Hold on folks, it gets worse.

Vusi (Cube) fled his native South Africa when he was a boy, lest he be killed by the police. He returns years later, more American than African, to bury his father, and finds that he is completely out of touch with his roots. That's interesting, as he is now a grad student studying African literature. His mother begs him to find his younger brother, who has vanished in Johannesburg. That search leads to the stripper girlfriend (Elizabeth Hurley), rap clubs, drug usage, a car jacking, and the discovery that the new South Africa ain't so different from South Central. Enter a drug lord (Ving Rhames) who demands a $15,000 price for not killing the youngster, who has ripped him off. You've seen the rest before.

There's lots of potential in the story, but Cube makes the grave mistake of believing that despite previous screen appearances, success on one stage is equivalent to success on any other. Cube casts himself in the lead role of Vusi, and shows a range of emotion and acting depth from "A" to "A minus."

I will now run for cover because Cube could hurt me real bad. His misfire is matched note for note by sexy co-star Elizabeth Hurley. She could probably hurt me just as bad -- but she fills a pink micromini skirt well, and that's three quarters of what is required.

Folks, the acting is so bad that even the people in the preview screening room were laughing out loud. Ving Rhames, an actor I respect, manages a decent accent while playing the same kind of organized crime leader role we've seen him do before, in Pulp Fiction.

Screenwriter/Director Darrell Roodt, whose Cry, the Beloved Country didn't show the viciousness of South African racism enough, goes the other way this time out. He, too, loses control of the piece as the shoot 'em up ending throws continuity out the window in favor of the old bang bang kill kill and happy ending. Feh.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Dangerous Ground, he would have paid . . .


As far as movies go, Dangerous Ground is a great rap album, I'm told. The CD'll cost you twice as much as a movie ticket, but will give you hours more enjoyment than the mish mosh that is the movie.

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