By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
October 24, 2001

2.5 stars

“This is the story of Jimmy Bones Black as night and hard as stone Gold-plated deuce like the King of Siam Got a switchblade loose and a diamond on his hand They took his life, he never rested in peace Now his vengeance will be unleashed.”

Patrick Peet grew up listening to that neighborhood rhyme. His father had been friends with Jimmy Bones–a charismatic man who kept drugs out of the neighborhood and always had money for those who needed shelter and food. After Bones was killed in 1979, he became a legend. But his old brownstone was left to decay.

Flash forward 22 years: Patrick is now a young man who purchases the brownstone with plans to turn it into a nightclub. Never mind that it’s a rat hole and there’s no way anyone could get it ready to open in a week. As he points out, “I got a really good deal on this place.”

His father, who moved his family out to the suburbs many years ago, is furious that his son would return to their ghetto not-so-fabulous roots. He warns Patrick that “no one will come to this neighborhood–dance club or not.”

Oh, you’d be surprised. As in most horror films, there are enough gutsy kids who think they’ll live forever, and in this case, supply plenty of victims for “Bones.”

When Patrick and friends find a body buried in the basement, they don’t scurry off to the police. “Call the police, and you don’t get a permit,” he says. Smart guys. They already know how bureaucracy works. Like the “Scream” trilogy, which parodied horror films so well that it was later parodied itself in “Scary Movie,” “Bones” has plenty of humor mixed in with blood and gore.

The one-liners come quick. After a resurrected Bones beheads one of the men who killed him, the talking head says, “I killed you, you killed me. We’re even. Why do you have to get all metaphysical on me?”

“Bones” features a predominantly African-American cast. As Bones, rap star Snoop Dogg is cool, calm and charismatic. He speaks in his distinctive style, familiar to fans of his music. His soulful eyes soak in the action, but he moves to his own rhythmic pace.

His love interest is played by the ageless Pam Grier, who seamlessly segues from a foxy 30-year-old to a slightly off-kilter 50-ish mom still enamored of Bones.

On the day Bones was killed, she read his palm and predicted his death: “There’s a line across your lifeline,” she says. Bones smoothly replies, “Must be my clothesline.”

Fans of “The Pretender” will have a difficult time recognizing handsome Michael T. Weiss as the corrupt, corpulent cop Lupovich. This distasteful, lazy officer enjoys eating as much as he does collecting money from his benefactors, and lives by the motto, “Four can keep a secret if three are dead.”

The plot isn’t particularly engrossing and it’s not even really that scary. But the film is funny and gross. And that’s what movies like “Bones” are all about.


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