The L.A. Riot Spectacular

"Weak"

The L.A. Riot Spectacular Review


A film that works overtime to offend each and every ethnic group and economic class that makes up the smoggy purgatory of Los Angeles while simultaneously patting itself on the back for being so putatively daring, The L.A. Riot Spectacular is a cynical exercise in erstwhile satire that's all the more frustrating for the wasted opportunity it represents.

Like a series of linked MAD TV skits done without regard to network censors - the humor is about that intelligent - the film presents the 1992 Rodney King beating and subsequent riots as a grand comic opera of greed and stupidity, going after everybody involved with equal vigor. One can get a feel for how writer/director Marc Klasfeld intends to approach his subject a few minutes in, when the car chase and police beating of King (T.K. Carter) is done as a jokey game, with a police helicopter pilot serving as the announcer ("and they're off!"), while the cops themselves, having pulled King over, place beats over the ethnicity of the guy inside. Then Snoop Dogg shows up - serving, appropriately enough, as the film's narrator and chorus - to introduce the film proper, while fireworks go off behind him.

Shot on shaky video and starring a grab-bag of lesser stars (talented though, for the most part) in the Hollywood firmament, The L.A. Riot Spectacular seems to want to shove its viewers faces in the muck and mire of the incident by over-the-top satire. Thus we get King in his hospital bed with 40 ounce-bottles of malt liquor hooked up to his IV, a Simi Valley jury composed entirely of uniformed police officers, and one scene where two lines of gangsters (one Crips, the other Bloods) march one at a time to an open grave where they simultaneously shoot each other, and then fall into the pit, while the next two step up. There are moments of inspiration, such as the scene when after the riot has reached a critical mass of barbarism, a single stray bullet pings off the Beverly Hills sign, and George Hamilton steps out and, in a booming Charlton Heston voice that carries clear across the L.A. basin, announces that the "People of the Hills" are displeased, and wish the unpleasantness to end.

Music video director Klasfeld has ideas to spare, obviously, and an admirable desire to storm the barricades of politically correct discourse, but that unfortunately doesn't mean his film can in the end add up to anything more than an initially shocking and eventually tiresome novelty piece. The Rodney King riots were a dark patch in the nation's history, to be sure, and an event in which nobody on any side of the fence seemed to acquit themselves well, a wonderful subject for the right satirist. There are times when Klasfeld seems (intentionally or not) to be echoing the savage fury of Oliver Stone's full-bore culture assault Natural Born Killers or Spike Lee's guerrilla race relations satire Bamboozled, but he has neither of those filmmakers' smarts or skills.

There's nothing wrong with treating a tragic and absurd event with absurdist comedy - but maybe taking the Airplane! approach to one of the nation's worst episodes of civil unrest wasn't the best of ideas.

Reviewed at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.



The L.A. Riot Spectacular

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 18th November 2006

Distributed by: Image Entertainment, Inc.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Erzähler, as Officer Powell

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.