Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I don’t know if your familiar the name Takeo Spikes, and if you don’t follow football then you definitely not familiar with the name.  Mr. Spikes was a highly touted linebacker out of Auburn University 10 years ago drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, and though he was a very good player for them the team, for every year he was on that team, they sucked ass.  He moved on to the Buffalo Bills which looked like they may be up and coming, but the Bills for the most part sucked ass too and now playing for the Philadelphia Eagles which made the playoffs last year, but sadly it’s looking doubtful that that’s going to happen this year.  So with Takeo Spikes we have a very good football player who has never been on a good team, never been to the playoffs in his 10 year career and probably never will go.  Actor Sean Blakemore is the Takeo Spikes of the movie world.  This is a cat who I think is a good actor, has some screen presence, has stolen a version Barry White’s voice, and who I’m told is handsome but yet has been relegated to sub B level movies and small bit parts in TV shows and the like.  Now we have ‘Young Cesar’ from Codeblack Entertainment which benefits greatly from a stellar cast of actors, but even the accomplished cast can’t rescue ‘Young Cesar’ from its choppy, misaligned narrative.

Dominic Daniel plays Cesar, a young street hood on the verge of making a big drug deal with a team of Mexican hoods to bring to some unnamed super drug to the hood, and ultimately to the ‘burbs and subsequently make a killing, but he has to convince King Gangster / Boxing promoter Luther (Blakemore) to sign on the deal.  It takes a little convincing but Luther is swayed by the opportunity and gives Cesar the front money for the deal.  Rewind fifteen years earlier where a pair of thugs are breaking into Cesar’s childhood home to rob his father Ali (Clifton Powell) who was King Gangster at the time.  Ali kills these thugs and from what I’m able to gather he was

sentenced to prison for twenty years for killing two armed men who broke into HIS house.  Now I’m not sure where this movie is supposed to be taking place, but on almost no place on earth is this a punishable crime.  Also it appears that Cesar hates his imprisoned father, and since the film never takes the time to explain why, we have to assume he hates the old man for getting sent to jail when Cesar was a child for saving his life.

Cesar also has a younger brother Tariq (Sam Sarpong) who is an up and coming boxer, and as such is coveted by boxing promoter Luther.  Cesar tries to warn Tariq about Luther, but Tariq correctly points out that Cesar IS selling drugs for the man so his advice falls on deaf ears.  Rewind fifteen years earlier where Ali beats the hell out of Luther for accusing Ali of using loaded dice during a street craps game.  Cesar also has a long suffering girlfriend who is pregnant which prompts Cesar to want get out of ‘the game’, then toss in a pair of abusive cops who are heavily leaning on Cesar to turn on Luther.  It all culminates in one big double cross of explosive guns and sifting through the pile of bodies to see who survived and who didn’t quite make it.

Convoluted, unnecessarily so, best describes the story as it is told in ‘Young Cesar’.  It seems that there are large chunks of the narrative missing from the movie and usually you get the opportunity to see deleted scenes and such on the DVD but unfortunately none was forthcoming on the relatively barebones disk that I got in the mail.  The character of Cesar was well portrayed by actor Dominic Daniels but the scripting was very uneven.  The character of Cesar obviously dislikes Luther, but yet is deathly loyal to him but for reasons that aren’t quite explained.  Cesar has this dream to become king of the drug lords to support his girl and his family but the moment she becomes pregnant NOW he wants out?  It would seem to me that this would be the time seriously amp up the whole drug thing.  Cesar obviously has no idea what Huggies and Similac costs nowadays.  Lastly the strained relationship between father and son wasn’t even so much as lightly discussed. 

Clifton Powell who is pretty much good in everything he chooses to be in, which is almost every movie being made it would seem, is completely wasted in this as his role of Ali was so insignificant that they could have gotten anybody to do it.  But the other actors were very good, with Daniels doing good work as Cesar, Sam Sarpong giving some substance to the underwritten role of Tariq and of course Blakemore who infuses a cool menace into the duplicitous character of Luther.

Director Sheldon Candis shoots a pretty picture and frames his film reasonably well but ultimately all of the fancy camera angles and decent performances were wasted on a script that didn’t know where it was going and editing that trimmed away too much of the movie to keep it coherent.

Oh my!  Would you look?  There in my mailbox is ‘Motives 2’, a sequel to ‘Motives’ which also stars one Sean Blakemore.  Time to dive in.

Real Time Web