Yes a sequel to 2016’s “City of Vultures” itself perhaps a classic film of the “urban crime genre”.
The plot is simple. Richard Steele known as “G” (Marcus Carothers) is a nasty Chicago gangster who starts a war by staging a heist on another gang scoring drugs and $300,000. Several members of the rival gang are executed by G’s crew. Well the rival gang strikes back and then G retaliates and so forth. A never-ending stream of violence without remorse. Bang Bang Pop Pop and they are dropping like flies. This is no 1950’s Film Noir but a gritty and nasty film full of very bad men who think little of killing other than it is a way of amassing wealth and surviving for another day. It is far more ruthless and bloodier than the classic film noir.
The plot as I noted is simple but it is perhaps the imagery of violence that is more important than plot. And it is shocking and disturbing. It is not glorifying violence nor is it criticizing violence: it simply presents a slice of Chicago gangster existence and lets you wade in with your own value judgements on the film.
Just about everyone portrayed in the film is bad except for Maliq (Harper Anthony) who is G’s 8-year-old son. He is G’s only connection with what life could be like had he not gone astray. With his son he loses his viciousness and tries to impart an ethical framework which is somewhat ironical considering G’s rottenness. G is clever and has some witticisms he spreads about but he is pure bad. Even his “bitch” (Dee Marie) Kay pops a rival gang member in self defence. She is over the top and gaudy but look at her face and she is nothing more than a little girl.
Vultures pick at carrion to survive just like G and all the other gangs but G has a death wish ripping off a rival and killing his “bitch” which his companion notes with great compassion she was from the street and is easily replaceable. His death wish increases with a planned rip off a Latino heroin dealer which no doubt we’ll have to wait until City of Vultures 3 to see how that rip-off fares. As well we will need to see how long G can survive in the deadly hell he lives in.
Here in Toronto in 2021 the murder tally was 85 and in Chicago it was 797. The film makes no attempt to explain why but is a lens into life in the hood. As director Carothers sates, “City of Vultures 2 is inspired by true events, particularly those stemming from a dark culture of crime plaguing the streets of Chicago. Major media outlets have tried to learn and diagnose what’s behind Chicago’s heightened murder rate for decades, and with the City of Vultures films I try to present inside stories from those that have yet to escape that way of life.”
There are a couple of memorable scenes. One is a mother confronting a son who is part of G’s gang and saying that she had done drug raps and before she sees her soon swallowed by the street she’ll kill him first. And I believe her! Then Maliq’s detention by the police shows just how clever his father has raised him to be. It also shows how unethical some Chicago police can be.
The acting is solid throughout with Carothers doing vey well portraying G. Kay played by Dee Marie is almost childlike but she is a killer nonetheless. At times one wonders if her infantile nature is due to some mental disability. Marie’s performance adds some complexity to her character.
The cinematography is in colour but with dark hues to it. It’s sombreness just adds more grit and desperation to the film.
Perhaps I am just a Canadian not used to the sordid nature of gangsterism in Chicago? With a mere 85 murders, many gang related, in Toronto I’ll cherish my innocence.
You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFLk8BETeAM
“City of Vultures 2” will be released on February 1 on iTunes/Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu, Vimeo and through some cable and satellite providers. City of Vultures is available on Tubi for no charge https://tubitv.com/movies/417685/city-of-vultures?start=true .
RKS Film Rating 91/100