Kicks is a truly unique perspective of this generations outlook on modern culture and how far people will go to stay relevant in it. Kicks starts of with a young teenager by the name of Brandon ( Jahking Guillory). Brandon is poor inner city kid who resides in Oakland , California. Brandon has two bestfirends who he admires and looks up to. Rico ( Christopher Meyer ) a suave ladies man , who gets all the ladies . Then there’s Albert ( Christopher Jordan Wallace) a heavy set guy who dreams of making it big in the world of R & B. Unlike Rico and Albert , Brandon is a dreamer who has no actual skill or desire to become someone great. Brandon is a day dream who constantly dreams about living in space where theres no one there to bother or bully you. Unlike Rico and Albert , Brandon is dirt poor and can’t afford nice things. He wears the same beat up old Air force Ones with holes in them. All Brandon wants to do is get a fresh pair of Jordan’s so he can be just like everyone else. Brandon not only wants a pair of Jordan’s , but he wants the Banned Jordan’s ( The 1st Pair of Jordan’s ). Brandon soon begins gathering all his money from all his old saved birthday cards. Brandon then goes out and buys candy to sell on street. One day as Brandon is walking home he is stopped by a street hustler selling shoes out his trunk. In brandon’s delight he has the Banned Jordan’s he's been waiting to own. Brandon buys the shoes he's worked so hard for. The next day Brandon takes his old shoes and throws them on the power lines in front of his house, saying out with the old and in with the new. Brandon’s friends cant believe he's copped the most sought after Jordan’s. Brandon’s self-esteem has now reached an all time high. He not only has the respect of his friends , but even the ladies are paying more attention. Things take a turn for the worse as Brandon is walking home and is stopped by a gang of guys who jump him while recording it at the same time. His shoes are taken by Flaco ( Kofi Sirboe) a known street thug who pray’s on the smaller and weaker kids. Flaco not only takes Brandon’s shoes , but then points a gun at him after he’s given his shoes up. Brandon wakes up brushed and beat up the next day. Brandon is once again back where he didn't want to be, only this time he has no shoes at all. He is forced to wear his mothers flip flops, as they are the only shoes in his house . Brandon vows to get his shoes back as he Albert and Rico venture to the Eastside of Oakland , very rougher side of town. Once there Brandon would seek out his uncle a well known gangster Marlon ( Mahershala Ail). Brandon meets with his uncle , whom he hasn't seen in years. Brandon tell him what Flaco has done and that he wants his shoes back. Marlon soon tells him to handle it himself as he tells him , he's a grown ass man and Flaco is a child. As Brandon his exiting the house he steals his uncles gun. Brandon would soon then speak to Marlon’s sons his cousins Gabe and Ryan ( Dant’e and Dont’e Clark). Gabe and Ryan know Falco all to well and don't like how he did their cousin. Gabe and Ryan soon invite Brandon and his friends to ride with them as they search for Flaco. Things get interesting when Gabe and Ryan take the boys to a local hangout, where people go to show off their cars and do tricks. Brandon soon sees Falco and his pair of Jordan’s which Falco has now given to his son. An altercation between Flaco’s friend ( who helped jump Brandon for his shoes )and Brandon quickly escalates. Gabe soon pushes him away from Brandon and as soon as he draws his gun , he's hit by a car. This sends everyone in a frenzy as they all disburse and run away. Brandon would then follow Flaco’s son home , so he can retrieve his prized Jordan’s. Rico and Albert plead with Brandon begging him to end this and to go back home. Brandon doesn't listen as he follows Flaco’s son into his house to retrieve his shoes. Everything goes well until Flaco returns home and catches Brandon and a shoot out between them starts. Rico and Albert help aid Brandon as he escapes , leaving them behind as Flaco almost kills Albert , but it saved by Rico as he hits Flaco with a board. Minutes later Brandon sees Rico and Albert walking as he embraces them saying its all good “ I got my Shoes back”. Rico slams Brandon into a gate saying we almost died for damn shoes. Rico and Albert leave Brandon as they head home. Brandon is now faced with the sad fact that he left his friends hanging for a pair of shoes. The next day back on their side of town Brandon try’s to make up with his friends as they meet at their usual stop , the basketball court. Brandon brings Rico a 40 ( malt liquor) and he brings Albert XL condoms ( an inside joke between friends). Rico tells him, “this doesn't make things right” , Brandon knowing that agrees. As the group is bonding they are soon interrupted by Flaco who with his son chases the crew. Fearing for their lives the boys cut through everywhere they could to hide as Flaco chases them. The boys soon get to the train steps as Rico and Albert make a run , Brandon stops. Brandon is tired of running , this man has terrorized him and his friends for far to long. Right as Brandon stops Flaco whips out his gun and point it at the back his head. Before Flaco can get a shot off Brandon takes a hard swing with his skateboard and knocks him on the ground. Brandon then starts kicking and hitting Flaco giving him a taste of his own medicine. Foolishly he Looks over and sees Flaco’s son and stops fighting him. Brandon ( Like an Idiot) then takes the gun and throw it away . Falco then gets up and starts beating the living hell out of Brandon. Falco then looks over to his son and tells Brandon keep yo damn shoes. As Brandon lays in a pool of his own blood his two friends help him up . Rico tells Brandon we seen Flaco leave with a bloody face and he’s given props for holding his own and keeping his shoes.
Wow, what a powerful movie and well directed by first time director Justin Tripping , who also helped write the movie as well. I absolutely loved this movie and its message. Now I know theres a large number of people who do not understand why Brandon has gone to such great lengths to get a pair of shoes back. Let say you're an rich upper class white man and to you show that you're successful what would you buy? Shoes, jewelry , naw how about a nice 2017 BMW. In most upper rich class neighborhoods your car is the true way of showing you've made it. Well to Brandon those pair of Banned Jordan’s was his BMW. That’s why he went to hell and back to get them. Imagine you're dirt poor and you cant even afford to buy new shoes. Once you've finally gotten a nice new pair, you'd do anything to keep them , right? Sadly enough no shoes are worth your life. But, I do understand the reasoning of why Brandon did what he did. Brandon lost himself in trying to be like everyone else and forgot about what was truly important , his friends. One thing that you can say about his friends is that they were loyal. They never teased Brandon about being poor and they even went with Brandon while he searched for his shoes. Brandon was so caught up on brands , that he forgot about his friends. Which to me is one of the most important underlining messages in this movie, friends. The cinematography and the way this movie was shot was just absolutely beautiful. For a low budget movie , it definitely didn't look like it. One thing I will say that pisses me off is the reviews this movie is getting. Most reviews are good , but this is the one issue that critics can never seem to get right. You have a movie with nothing but Africans American cast and I look on IMDB a huge site for movies and they give this movie a 4.8 /10!! Are you kidding me. I know a movie like this speaks to a certain generation of people. If you're a rich middle age person what could you possibly have in common with a movie of this magnitude? A lot more than you think I bet. I’ll give you an example the movie The Big Short is a movie that came out almost 2 years ago. It was a movie about the housing collapse and economic downfall in 2008. I myself do not own a home yet or know the ins and outs of Wall Street. Yet , I loved that movie even though 70% of the time I had no idea what they were talking about. I used this movie as an example , because even without owning a home or being well rounded in stocks I was still able to relate to this movie in some small way . Such as people can relate to Bradon’s character. Acceptance played a huge role in this movie. All Brandon wantedwas to be accepted by his peers. No matter how rich or poor you are , you always have a willingness to be accepted.
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