Lightyear Entertainment // 2005 // 88 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // June 24th, 2005
Sometimes you find treasure in the funniest places.
You know you're in trouble when former Diff'rent Strokes star and convicted crack dealer killer Todd Bridges is the only cast member you recognize.
Sometime back in the early '80s, a couple of two-bit hoods started ripping off a New Orleans crime lord. They stashed the fruits of their crimes in an abandoned steel mill, but eventually ran afoul of a pair of crooked cops and ended up dead. A couple of months later the mill was demolished and a housing project was built on the site. An urban legend about the hidden loot spread throughout the neighborhood, but no one took it seriously until a lazy college student did a little research and discovered the possible location of the treasure.
I'm starting to have mixed feelings about the DVD format. Don't get me wrong, I love having handy access to many of my favorite films. But am I the only person who's noticed how easy it is for low-budget crap made by untalented idiots to find its way onto store shelves? Maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention back then, but was it like this during the heyday of VHS? I don't remember going into any of the local video stores and being assaulted by boxes covered in blurbs from the likes of Murderdog Magazine, but maybe I just missed them. Anyway, you're probably wondering where I'm headed with this (I'm beginning to wonder myself), so let me get to the point: Treasure N Tha Hood could very well be the worst cinematic travesty I've ever seen. It's dull, unfunny, amateurish, and a complete waste of time, money, paper, plastic, and whatever other materials went into creating the disc and packaging.
There's so much about this thing that sucks that I'm not sure where to begin. Should I mention what passes for humor in the script? Are old ladies who fart while complaining about not having been laid in thirty years funny? How about a slacker who farts in the middle of a wet dream? What about Bruce Lee jokes made in reference to Korean grocers, or a discussion of why African American men are obsessed with the female ass despite the fact it's the smelliest part of the human anatomy? If none of that works for you, there's the crazy homeless guy who has spinning rims on his shopping cart and answers his invisible cell phone whenever he becomes agitated. Maybe you'll enjoy the antics of Reverend Ike (how clever), the jack-legged street corner preacher. No? Well, I guess your final option is Kango Slim, a pimp who's so mean he makes his bitches slap themselves around. Hilarious, huh?
Want to know about the production values? What production values??? The first scene involves two cops murdering a couple of men, one of whom is seemingly shot in the back of the head. Okay, so you'd expect the viscera from the wound to be blown out the front of the man's skull, right? Not here. The guy's brain matter, represented here by a mixture of sawdust, feathers, and red food coloring, is thrown into the shot from a crew member standing outside the left edge of the frame. To be honest, I initially thought the cop had missed the guy and accidentally killed a nearby chicken. It's also fairly obvious that many of the interiors, meant to be five or six different locations, were actually shot in the same apartment, and the strip club is undoubtedly a community center rec room. And get this -- some of the characters go to a football game, and all of the game footage has been spliced in from a videotaped television broadcast. You can even see the wavy lines caused by the VCR's tracking being out of whack. I know this is low-budget filmmaking, but come on!
I get a big kick out of pointing out lapses in logic in crappy movies, so here we go. The story is supposed to take place in the month of June (evidenced by the fact that one of the characters will soon be graduating from college), but since when are college football homecoming games played in June? When the main characters finally decide to look for the treasure, they dig through an apartment floor with two shovels and a mattock. It can't be that easy to dig through a building's foundation, can it? That's not all -- they're supposed to be digging their way into a sewer (don't ask), but the room they end up in is full of transformer boxes. Speaking of that, can anyone with a laptop gain access to blueprints of demolished buildings and municipal sewage plans? Then again, I suppose the entire plot is a lapse in logic. Two million bucks buried in the neighborhood, and not one single person in a span of twenty-five years has bothered to look for it? Yeah, right.
I just realized I haven't mentioned the acting or direction. There's a reason for that: they're nonexistent. Remember what I said about Todd Bridges being the only recognizable member of the cast? That alone should clue you in on how talented everyone else is. I've never seen any of them before, and I'll hopefully never see any of them again, with one possible exception: Natascha Hopkins (whose name is misspelled during the closing credits). I don't know how she had the misfortune to become involved in this garbage, but she's far too attractive to be stuck with this sort of work. As for director Greg Carter (don't worry, nobody knows who he is)...well, if you're ever looking to invest in a film, and by chance he comes to you looking for financing, kick him in his ass and toss him out the door.
Okay, so let's get to the disc itself. The non-anamorphic transfer has a washed-out, shot-on-cheap-video look. Colors and clarity are generally poor, and there's grain and artifacts a-plenty. The Dolby Stereo mix swings from unintelligible to overbearing at the drop of a hat. It's often hard to make out the dialogue -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing -- but the horrible songs used in the film are really cranked up, which is definitely a bad thing. Extras include a couple of awful music videos (they're so laughably bad I though I was watching a parody on Chappelle's Show -- someone needs to tell this Magnolia Chop guy that his resemblance to Wayne Brady doesn't really do much for his gangsta image), and a really bad behind-the-scenes featurette (given the amount of Sam's Choice Cola bottles on the set, Wal-Mart employees were apparently in charge of catering). There's also a commentary from Greg Carter, which is nice if you want to hear a guy who doesn't know how to make a movie talk about making a movie. (His inability to remember the names of the characters and actors, or keep up with the plot, doesn't help, either.) Finally, there's a photo gallery featuring three of the actresses from the movie. It includes a few shots of a scantily-clad Natascha Hopkins, thus making it the only worthwhile aspect of this release.
I take back everything I wrote about Dracula 3000. Seriously.
I'm sure you're way ahead of me...but yeah, it's guilty.
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Lightyear Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Behind the Scenes Featurette
* Music Videos
* The Ladies of Treasure N Tha Hood Photo Gallery