"Now we give thanks. Thank you, Mr. Chicken God for all that you are giving us... chicken backs, chicken butts, and chicken thighs. Thank you, Mr. Kentucky. Without you, we would have no food."
"Sugar Hill" starts off with a black-and-white montage of Harlem during the days of yesterday past. A woman sits in her kitchen, cooking up heroin while her two sons watch on. She asks her eldest son for assistance, and he reluctantly obliges. A minute later, she overdoses and dies right in front of her children. Years later, the two sons are trafficking the same "poison" that killed their mother and that "enslaves" their father. Welcome to Sugar Hill.
Roemello Skuggs (Wesley Snipes) is the "smart" brother. He's going to Georgetown on a scholarship, but comes back home to help run the "business." Raynathan Skuggs (Michael Wright) is the "jealous" brother, who seeks to keep the family business afloat no matter what. Obviously, there is a Cain-and-Abel vibe to their relationship. Anyways, upon meeting an aspiring actress (Theresa Randle) Roemello evaluates his life, and contemplates leaving the business for good.
This is a major case of a movie sounding more promising than it actually is. Wesley Snipes plays a character almost the polar opposite of his Nino Brown persona from "New Jack City." Instead of relying on the moral and ethical dilemmas of the business, this devolves into a territorial war packed with violence. In addition, the casting of stereotypical baddies and Abe Vigoda as a cartoony, aging mobster leaves a lot to be desired.
Fox presents "Sugar Hill" in Widescreen 1.85:1. For the most part, everything looks very good, especially Michael Wright's loud red jacket. There are specs of dirt present throughout the film, and some instances of grain and artifacting. But all in all, it's a pretty good transfer despite not enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and Spanish 2.0. This movie would have greatly benefited from being 5.1, especially during the certain scenes (glass breaking, jazz trumpets, gunshots, etc). The audio does sound clean however, unfortunately, it doesn't even come close to testing your sound system.
A static DVD menu includes the choices: "Play, "Language Selection", "Scene Selection", and "Special Features."
A brief featurette and the "Sugar Hill" trailer.
I found myself bored by "Sugar Hill." Usually, I'm a fan of the genre, but this movie was flawed from the start. I will go back and watch it again just to see if it catches my attention on a second viewing. As a result, I won't tell you to "Skip It", instead I suggest you "Rent It."