Pop this movie just the other night and it turns out this is still an incredible movie. Larenz Tate is indeed a fine actor. I've seen this movie numerously over the years and it still get to me. "Menace II Society" is a film that is so violent, depressing and real it seriously looks and feels like a documentary. Inside the first 20 minutes there are a few scenes that would be the climatic in the latter (Boyz n The Hood) purely because they contain outrageous violence, sadness and that feeling that you are watching something brilliant & depressing. It shows what a tenacious, vicious film this is- the normal, brutal ending to another film of misguided youth is purely an introductory, walk in the park for this.
The film follows the venture of a young man, "Caine" (Tyrin Turner) in the hood. He is a part time drug-dealer, but even though the portrayal of his character isn't sympathetic, that emotion is still evoked at the same time as watching him and his friends manoeuvre through the 'hood. Caine's best friend, O- Dog (Larenz Tate) was never any hope. Seen "Trainspotting"? O-Dog is a GD-up version of the psychotic, violent character "Begbie". He shoots people for fun, treats women in a degrading fashion and constantly annoys and makes fun of his friends. Other characters include Jada Pinkett-Smith, Bill Duke, and Samuel L Jackson, the last two only holding small roles in this movie.
I'm not going to go into great depths into this film. It cannot do it justice. Every actor is superb, the script is impeccable and the violence is raw, uncut but informative. Watching this is like a documentary- you feel as if you are there, and by the end you won't be able to process what eventually happens. For me, it made me go numb. I'm never able to leave my seat for a few minutes. My advice: watch this for yourself. And don't feel bad about crying- even the hardened will have trouble holding back in this amazing, cinematically beautiful masterpiece.