Cinema Review: Cut Throat City | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 6th, 2022  

Cut Throat City

Studio: Well Go USA
Directed by RZA

Aug 21, 2020 Web Exclusive
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Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA returns with his third feature film, Cut Throat City, his attempt at creating a hard-hitting thriller addressing how a government’s failure affects its people. Set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s decimation of their New Orleans community, and FEMA’s bureaucratic approach proving to be more harmful than helpful, four childhood friends (Shameik Moore, Denzel Whitaker, Keean Johnson, Demetrius Shipp Jr.) realize they are out of options. As their home in the Lower Ninth Ward continues to face destruction far after the flooding has receded and job opportunities remain slim to none, the group decides to turn to a job assigned from a local gang lord (Tip T.I. Harris): robbing one of the city’s casinos.

After the heist’s conclusion, the story turns into a three-fold narrative, attempting to balance between the friends dealing with the consequences of their actions, their employer trying to track them down, and a detective’s (Eiza González) search to figure out who is responsible for the robbery. While it makes sense that the film chooses to take this route, the script and RZA’s direction aren’t able to handle the added burden of these new plots. The movie is missing the pacing and fluidity needed to hold the overarching story together.

As more and more characters are introduced, the film seems to forget what story it actually wants to tell. It reinvents itself and its ideas every five minutes instead of sticking to its original, somewhat intriguing premise. In the first 20 minutes, the film sets up what is a derivative yet effective idea, walking the line between Ocean’s Eleven, Heat, and Den of Thieves. But once the heist scene concludes–far too early in the film–it becomes evident that the story has petered out. The narrative gets bogged down by each character’s motivation being unclear and the story trying to become much more sophisticated than it needs to be.

Cut Throat City never really moves with a certain goal in mind–feeling instead like a collection of half-baked ideas. What starts as a simple heist thriller turns into a convoluted mess, that with such a stacked cast, is a travesty. Cut Throat City suffers from the same shortcomings as RZA’s 2012 directorial debut The Man With The Iron Fists: it haphazardly mixes and matches various film genres and ideas, leaving viewers without much to take away.


Author rating: 4/10

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August 24th 2020

great review