Imperial Dreams

Starring: John Boyega, Glenn Plummer, Keke Palmer, Rotimi
Directed By: Malik Vitthal

Plot: Bambi (Boyega) is a young man, recently released from jail, just trying to turn his life around. He doesn’t want any part of his past gang life, even though his uncle (Plummer) is trying to pull him back in. He just wants to be able to provide for his son and teach others not to choose the path he took. But there’s a giant foot that just keeps pushing him back down.

What Works: I never believed Boyega as a gangbanger, however, i also really appreciated what he brought to the rest of the role. He’s really excellent as a father trying to provide for his son, and as a man trying to work against a system designed to oppress him. This film is an interesting perspective on a story we’ve seen before. It may not be the best in its class, but it’s a nice show of what Boyega is capable of when given serious material to work with. The supporting cast is good, and the film is shot well.

What Doesn’t Work: Again, I never bought Boyega as a gangbanger, or dangerous at all. I liked about 2/3rds of what he had to do, but the other third took me out of the movie. Also, the relationship development between he and his mother is just sad. It’s like she comes in out of nowhere, yet written like she was always around. Estranged relationships are usually a lot more tense than this. And, dressing a homeless man in a clean white shirt the whole film is just lazy. He lives in his car, how is his shirt that clean? That white? No stains? Maybe I’m taking a Cinema Sins approach to this, but I noticed it… and it felt really lazy.

Final Word: A good entry in the father/son genre, but not really in the gang film entry. Boyega has some really good moments in this, and I’m looking forward to seeing him do more dramatic work outside of the Star Wars universe. He has a lot of potential… he’s just incapable of being scary or mean. He’s too likeable.

Final Grade: B+

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