Juice is a 1992 American crime drama film directed by Ernest R. Dickerson (who also wrote the film with Gerard Brown), starring Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins, Khalil Kain and Samuel L. Jackson.
The film is about four inner-city teens from Harlem: Quincy "Q" Powell (Omar Epps), Roland Bishop (Tupac Shakur), Raheem (Khalil Kain) and Eric "Steel" Thurman (Jermaine Hopkins) who skip school one day & learn that an old friend of theirs was murdered in a shootout at a bar.
After Bishop tells his friends they have no respect (or "juice"), they rob a corner grocery store in order to get some, but things go bad after the store owner is killed during the robbery.
- Omar Epps as Quincy "Q" Powell
- Tupac Shakur as Roland Bishop
- Khalil Kain as Raheem Porter
- Jermaine Hopkins as Eric "Steel" Thurman
- Samuel L. Jackson as Trip
- Oran "Juice" Jones as Snappy Nappy Dugout
- Flex Alexander as Contest Auditioneer
- Queen Latifah as Ruffhouse MC
- Doctor Dre & Ed Lover as Contest Judges
- Fab 5 Freddy as himself
- Cindy Herron as Yolanda
- Vincent Laresca as Radames
- George O. Gore II as Q's little brother
- Grace Garland as Q's mother
- Donald Faison as Student
- Eric Payne as Frank
- Victor Campos as Quiles
The movie was filmed in New York City on an estimated budget of $5,000,000.
Daryl Mitchell, Donald Faison, Anthony "Treach" Criss, and Money-B were among the people who auditioned for the role of Bishop.
Tupac Shakur had accompanied Money-B to the audition and was asked to read the script. Shakur nailed the role when he threw a chair during his audition & helped Criss get a cameo as a member of Radames' gang.
In an interview, Omar Epps stated that Tupac Shakur wanted to stay in character so much that he would aggressively ask the cast and crew to call him "Bishop" instead of Tupac on set.
According to Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins, Tupac Shakur often walked off the set during filming. As a prank, Hopkins told Shakur that he was being fired from the film. When Shakur found out that it wasn't true, he started a physical altercation with Hopkins.
In the scene in which Bishop kills Radames, Vincent Laresca was accidentally shot in the neck with a blank & the powder burn is visible in the scene.
In the original ending, Bishop lets go of Q's hand, deciding that he would rather fall to his death than go to jail. This was supposed to be a reference to an earlier scene in which Bishop watches the ending of White Heat and declares that he wants to die in the same way, but the test audiences did not like this ending and Paramount executives demanded it to be changed.
"Juice" opened at #2 at the box office, coming in behind The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, grossing $8,085,915 during its opening weekend.
Domestically, the film made $20,146,880.
The movie received generally favorable reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 83% based on 18 reviews with an average rating of 6.3\10.
Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, praising the film as "one of those stories with the quality of a nightmare, in which foolish young men try to out-macho one another until they get trapped in a violent situation which will forever alter their lives".
Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grading, saying, "the film is an inflammatory morality play shot through with rage and despair. Like Boyz N the Hood and Straight Out of Brooklyn, it asks: When every aspect of your environment is defined by violence, is it possible to avoid getting sucked into the maelstrom?"
They also praised Dickerson for his directorial skills, saying, "Coming out from behind Spike Lee's camera, Ernest Dickerson has instantly arrived at the forefront of the new wave of black directors. His film aims for the gut, and hits it."
Kathleen Maher from the Austin Chronicle said, "Dickerson's story of street kids at risk breaks no new ground. It is better than most, but not by much".
Hal Hinson from the Washington Post said, "The story, which is already over-familiar from other films about black life in big-city ghettos, isn't personal enough or rich enough in detail to merit our attention".
- Best Film: Ernest R. Dickerson (nominated)