Review by Carla Renata for UBNRADIO.COM and The Curvy Film Critic
The obsession over sneakers in a documentary Sneakheadz and getting the latest "kicks by any means necessary is real. Many kids have been killed, beat up even harassed over the type of sneakers they are wearing.
With a debut earlier this year at the Tribeca and LA Film Festivals, KICKS takes it to a whole new level, by putting this controversial subject to a narrative centered around three urban teens. When one of them is jacked for his Jordans, he and his friends find themselves on a journey to recover the shoes, but not without consequences and repercussions.
Fifteen-year-old Brandon longs for a pair of the freshest sneakers that money can buy and assumes that having them on his feet will help him escape the reality of being poor, neglected by the opposite sex and picked on by everyone -- even his best friends.
Working hard to get them, he soon finds that these shoes have made him a target after they are snatched by local hood, Flaco. Flaco has his own issues that will are revealed when Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his stolen sneakers with his two best friends in tow.
Produced by the same team that brought us Morris from America, boasting an amazing soundtrack of both hip-hop classics and Bay Area favorites, Kicks creates an authentic and original portrait of a young man drowning in the expectations of being grown and standing his ground for what he believes.
With an impressive screen debut, Jahking Guillory is perfection as Brandon. Mahershala Ali is having a great year and his portrayal of Flaco is chilling, yet compassionate as a gang-banger Dad with a heart.
Kicks is a modern-day Boyz in the Hood Air Jordans as the centerpiece. I could have done without some of the more graphic scenes, but guess they seemed necessary in order to give this film authenticity around its storyline..
As a first time director/screenwriter, Justin Tipping does an admirable job in creating a magical urban tale about friendship, honor and life in Oakland.
Kicks rolls into a theatre near you on September 9th by Focus films.