Light It Up

on November 10, 1999 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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   With school funds being cut to the bone, students are forced to share books in freezing, overcrowded classrooms being taught by substitute teachers. When one of the few decent teachers is wrongfully suspended, the protest triggers a confrontation that leaves a school security officer ("Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai's" Forest Whitaker) bleeding in the hallway with a bullet in his leg. With no luck convincing authorities that the act was an accident, six students take over the school and hold the officer hostage in an attempt to make the truth known. However, their motive takes a detour as the students use the press coverage as a way to voice the need for improved conditions in their deteriorating school.
   While igniting social awareness about the dire state of the public school system, "Light It Up" also touches on abuse, teen pregnancy and police brutality. But although the subject matter has a positive message, it's to the film's detriment that the filmmakers opt to inform instead of entertain. They attack key problems within schools and law enforcement but don't dwell on the power struggles and bonding that goes on between the students, which would have helped viewers to connect with and care more about the characters and their plight. Starring: Usher Raymond, Forest Whitaker, Fredro Starr, Rosario Dawson, Robert Richard, Sara Gilbert, Clifton Collins Jr., Vanessa L. Williams and Judd Nelson. Directed and written by Craig Bolotin. Produced by Tracey E. Edmonds. A Fox 2000 release. Drama. Rated R for language and violent content. Running time: 99 min
Tags: between the students, which would have helped viewers to connect with and care more about the characters and their plight. Starring: Usher Raymond, Forest Whitaker, Fredro Starr, Rosario Dawson, Robert Richard, Sara Gilbert, Clifton Collins Jr., Vanessa L. Williams and Judd Nelson. Directed and written by Craig Bolotin. Produced by Tracey E. Edmonds. A Fox 2000 release. Drama, teachers, secruity, police, social
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