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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Candid Camcorder

Gang Tapes on IMDb

Plot Overview

Martin Luther King
Jr.A Midwest family consisting of a father Alan (Andrew Stoddard), mother (Michelle Marie White), son (Kevin Wiseman), and daughter Melinda (Rochelle) take turns holding right hand their camcorder on the other three posing with L.A. panoramas in the back­ground. When the dad stops in South-Central to read the road map, the boy films a “cool” black wino on the corner. Dumm­kopfs! Prudence would dictate a hasty retreat from this black neigh­bor­hood. How­ever, since the opening shot of the street map centered on M L King, we want to judge a people by their character, not by their skin color. “Gang Tapes” accommodates us when the camcorder records the day-to-day lives of the East Side Ridaz now speeding away in the car they hijacked.

box turtlewildebeestIn their night­time perambulations, their head­lights sweep across a mural of animals such as we'd find on Noah's ark. Dr. Ide writes, “Noah feared that any inter­course within each species in the ark would lead to an explosion of the number of that species and thus for­bade all beings ([human] and animal) from coitus. Only three of the passengers refused: Noah's son Ham who feared that if he didn't have coitus with his wife his brothers Shem and Japheth would discover that their sister-in-law was already pregnant by a giant, the dog and a rooster. To expose their crime of coitus during this ‘holy voyage of abstinence’ the yahweh [i.e. God] of Noah turned Ham's skin black, lengthened his penis and made him so lustful that he would engage in sex at any instance” (36). I heard of the same punish­ment described once on a German short­wave broad­cast discussing Jewish beliefs, but it added also that because of his insolent words, Ham's lips were thickened, and because of his perversion his hair was turned kinky. Ham's first­born son Cush (Gen. 10:6), settled in Africa. Cush is Hebrew meaning black. Researcher Bodie Hodge confirms that “As a general trend, Ham is the father of many peoples in Africa” (122). Dr. Ide adds, “Ham sired four sons: Cush (translates as ‘black’) … and Canaan the youngest” (62).

photographerA 14-year-old gangsta wannabe Kris (Trivell) poaches the camcorder off his older brother Travis (Don Cambell) and goes to town recording all that happens around him. Due to his inexperience with the device, his shots often emphasize these very tells in the Negro. He photo­graphs them in front of a bright back­ground, which closes the aperture enough to darken their faces blacker representing sin. He has his brother purse his lips (“Blow one, Travis”) to make a smoke ring, and other times his closeups center on fat lips, emphasizing insolence. A lot of his standing shots of seated gang members display their kinky hair in various styles, representing perversion. When some­one pulls the cap off Cyril (Darontay McClendon) recently released from prison, it exposes his shaved head (“That nigger's head looks like one big scab.”) And he's up to getting their long penises, portraying lust, past the censors. He describes his own sexual propensity as, “Big 12 is ready.” Filming a home invasion he gets shots of one homie raping the house­wife (Nancy Whitworth) draped over the bed, using deep thrusts that wouldn't have worked with a short penis and an uncooperative partner. And when one brother pees through a chain link fence at night, he stands well clear of it and still his schlong reaches through.


One of the sites visited by the hapless white family was Mann's Chinese Restaurant displaying famous foot­prints embedded in the side­walk. When asked if she recognizes some of the names, Melinda replies, “It's from you guys' time,” to which the mom adds, “It's from before our time.” Alan's bare foot fits snugly into a print of Sean Connery's. On the other side of the car­ jacking, Kris also fits the steps of some­one before his time, some­one who interrupted a dad's vacation.

plowingNoah's father Lamech had (Gen. 5:29) “called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” After the flood one day, Noah took some leisure time, stripped down in his tent, and got drunk. Mrs Noah being a good wife made her­self scarce while Noah decom­pressed from his day's labor. She went off to visit her youngest son Ham telling him not to bother his father. Disobedient Ham came knocking and discovered Noah plastered. He went and mocked him to his two older brothers (Gen. 9:20-23). Ham was perturbed that his father had gotten naked with­out setting about to procreate as God commanded. He also didn't like his father taking a recess from rebuilding the wrecked world. Noah's rejoinder was along the lines of, “Oy! Vey! You want we should have children and work harder? Okay, your descendants (Canaan) can be slaves to your brothers. Oy! Vey!” (Gen. 9:24-27).

In biblical wisdom terms it's like, (Prov. 30:17) “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” There's a biblical alternative to mutilation in, (Exodus 21:26) “And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.” Ham's offspring went into servitude rather than his having an eye put out or what­ever. In the historical context of God having just drowned the whole world for its wickedness, and going forward instituting capital punishment (Gen. 9:5), a heavy-handed discipline for gross disrespect doesn't seem so out of place. And Noah did seem to have control over the animals (birds) particularly the ravens (Gen. 8:7). But rather than effecting corporal punishment he assigned extra chores to Ham's line. Those extra chores ultimately included Negro slavery.

In the movie “Gang Tapes,” Kris was disobedient to his mom (Sonja Marie) as a matter of course. We see him disobeying her left and right. She's a working mom wanting the best for “my baby” who strays into gang involvement outside her knowledge. Kris's dad is out of the picture. His mom won't even talk about him. preacher The closest Kris comes to a male authority figure in his life is the preacher man in the distant town where his mom takes him (over his complaint) to church. The sermon is on Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23.) The preacher's salient point is that just as we're observed by cameras all around the neighbor­hood, so God sees every­thing we do, both bad and good. Kris mocks him by running his camcorder from a middle pew as he's preaching. Looks like he's setting him­self up to have his light put out by a West Side Nigger, or some suffer other appropriate damage.

Production Values

” (2001) is a low-budget, urban. indie film portraying gang life on a stolen, shakily-held camcorder. It was directed by Adam Ripp. It was written by Steven Wolfson and Adam Ripp, although the movie was mostly improvised by the cast consisting of former gang members from Watts and South-Central Los Angeles, and one real actor Darris Love. Both dialogue and violence were thus realistic.

MPAA rated it R for strong violence, language, drug use and some sexuality. It was black­listed from theaters for fear it would engender violence. Its rap music was on the bombastic side, but from an artistic stand­point it could be an extra sign of danger, like a rattler's rattle. It's 1½ hours long.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

A venomous snake has a vertically slitted pupil like a cat's eye, but I prefer to identify them by their skin color rather then get nose-to-nose. If I need to handle one, I'll use a stick, not my hand. If you want to get a handle on black gangs, this movie will do it with­out necessitating personal involvement. It's a sad commentary on the life, but it's not political. It doesn't lend itself to repeated viewings.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent cringeworthy action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children under 18. Special effects: Wake up and smell the 1990s technology. Video Occasion: Okay for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Several suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Three generous stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev 1769. Software.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.