What does it mean to be a man? Athletic ability to hoop, fresh gear, money, picking up girls? – All of the above are important to young men in the streets, not having any means your invisible. In the trailer for Kicks, Brandon (Jahking Guillory) gets a pair of red and black Jordans and he is recognized and given props for the first time in the neighborhood.
The trailer shows a 15-year-old Brandon, reflecting on how everyone is cooler than him. He meets a man selling Air Jordans out of his car and is told, “these cost more than your life”. Brandon raises the money, gets his first pair of kicks; then he is beaten and robbed by a local hood named Flaco (Kofi Siriboe). Brandon, his two friends, Rico (Christopher Meyer) and Albert (Christopher Jordan Wallace, the son of late rapper Notorious B.I.G) go searching for Flaco to retrieve Brandons’ manhood aka sneakers. From here the main character reaches a pivotal crossroad, where he makes the decision to “handle his business” changing his life forever.
The feature directorial debut of Justin Tippings, Kicks, was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival and is praised for the script and overall cinematography. The movie is very enticing and I suspect people will go see this film in large numbers (including myself). However, the trailers potential message of ‘respect’ by any means can be very dangerous, teenagers viewing this movie (despite its ‘R’ rating) could place a higher value on material possessions over their own lives. Kicks could invoke an exaggerated fear of urban youth because of the overall subject matter. I’m not claiming to know what the film is all about (all I have seen is the trailer). I’m just hoping there is more that meets the eye. The film will have a nationwide, theatrical, release on September 9th.