A sloppy screenplay ruins a potentially interesting story in Dangerous Ground.
Ice Cube stars as Vusi, a South African radical, who as a boy was smuggled to America
for his protection. Now, years later, he returns to his homeland to attend
his father's funeral. There, he learns that his young brother Stephen has gone
missing. He goes to Johannesburg to locate him, where he learns that Stephen
has gotten mixed up with the drug lord Mookie (Ving Rhames). Together with
Stephen's stripper girlfriend (Elizabeth Hurley), Vusi has to struggle through
South Africa's deteriorating conditions to locate Stephen.
You never get the impression that Vusi has ever been to South Africa before,
due to both Ice Cube's monotonous acting job, and some sloppy screenwriting
which is more interested in drawing parallels between the deteriorating conditions
in America and South Africa than character development. The supporting cast
are a bit better. Ving Rhames is commanding when he's on screen, but his
character remains too much of an enigma. Elizabeth Hurley delivers a fine
performance as an addict, but isn't given much to do other than simply hang around.
The screenplay has plenty of other flaws as well. It tries to cram way to many
pointless subplots into the film: Neo-Nazis, street gangs, the drug culture,
gambling, and police corruption are a handful of the subjects Dangerous Ground
touches upon. Yet, it never gives any of these topics a serious study. Instead,
as the film grinds on, it devolves into a bland action film, where every action
is pointess and predictable.
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