"Good Idea Turned into Politically Correct, Obscene Leftist Nonsense"
What You Need To Know:
Based on the Greek comedy LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, CHI-RAQ’s plot is lifted from the Peloponnesian War and transplanted into modern-day Chicago. CHI-RAQ uses an interesting blend of poetry and dialogue, an all-knowing narrator, and comic-like Twitter graphics to provide some unconventional storytelling. However, the movie is way too long. Also, a ton of A-list stars appear to throw their weight behind the movie’s politically correct agenda mocking Southerners, attacking police and supporting gun control, among other things. CHI-RAQ is also abhorrently full of graphic lewd content, violence and foul language.
(RoRoRo, PCPCPC, APAPAP, Acap, CC, BB, PaPa, Ho, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, A, DDD, MM) Very strong Romantic, politically correct, pro gun control, Anti-Southern, anti-police, and even anti-white worldview overall with some solid, overt Christian and moral pro-faith elements/arguments (including a positive clergyman figure plays a large role in his community, extensive funeral scene takes place in a church, two scenes include gospel songs, multiple references to God and Jesus, Satan is referenced, prayer is mentioned in multiple scenes, a woman prominently wears a cross necklace, Heaven is mentioned, and there’s a plea to confess one’s sins and surrender to authorities), but some very strong pagan, immoral behavior includes some Christian, biblical morals/values are ignored in favor of immorality, a couple scenes contain brief homosexual innuendo including a woman calls herself a “dyke,” the Black Lives Matter movement takes a prominent role and certain groups of the population (whites, southerners, conservatives, politicians) are stereotyped as being politically incorrect or racist in multiple scenes, law enforcement and government are accused of exercising a “legal form of lynching” in their treatment of black people, government is demonized as not caring about “thugs,” a black conservative is accused of being a “Ben Carson sellout”, Americans who are pro-gun are demonized as warmongers, southerners are accused of having “evil in their blood,” the Red White and Blue insurance company is accused of greedily taking advantage of the high death rate on the south side of Chicago, final scene promotes gun confiscation/surrender to the government, several scenes involve anti-police rhetoric, private corporations sign a treaty with the “hood” to “guarantee” jobs to unemployed people regardless of merit in an effort to stop gun violence; at least 120 obscenities and profanities, multiple slang terms used on numerous occasions for male and female genitalia, multiple offensive slang terms used for women on numerous occasions, a slang term is used for a woman’s breasts, the term “pissing” is used; two rap songs include descriptions of shootings and death, gunshots are used as sound effects in multiple scenes and rap songs, one scene has a man shooting guns at the camera, multiple people are shot at a rap concert, the aftermath of a drive-by shooting is depicted, a dead girl is shown covered by a blood-stained sheet, a house is set on fire followed by an exchange of gunfire between gang leaders, a mother cleans a pool of her daughter’s blood off the street, two men are slapped in the face, gunshots are heard outside a home, several scenes depict gunfights; very strong sexual content includes several scenes depicting graphic fornication, multiple scenes describe or use innuendo to describe a male’s aroused state, sex sound effects are used in several scenes, a man gropes a woman’s breast, one scene takes place in a strip club where strippers are not present but discussed, a mob of women wear chastity belts, women graphically discuss refusing men sex in multiple scenes, a boy walks on his mother having sexual relations, one scene involves voyeurism as hundreds of people watch a couple fornicate, the entire plot revolves around sex, and almost every scene discusses or depicts it in some way, a woman seducing a man gets him to strip to his underwear and imitate sexual acts, sexual immorality between unmarried couples is widely promoted and accepted within the community, men whose girlfriends or wives refuse them sex have no problem turning to another woman to satisfy their desires; nude couples engaged in sex but with their lower genitalia hidden by camera angles in a couple of scenes, upper male nudity in several scenes wearing underwear only, rear male nudity in several scenes; alcohol use; multiple scenes depict cigarette smoking and drug use, multiple scenes mention illegal drug sales; and, men talk about women as their inferiors and having their place as sexual pleasers, men allow their ego to fuel violence, people in the community refuse to come forward as witnesses to murders, and there’s a false, idealistic, somewhat superficial view of love as the only real security and answer to violence.
In Spike Lee’s new movie CHI-RAQ, the women on the south side of Chicago get tired of the ongoing gun violence and stage a sex strike to bring peace to the community. Spike Lee’s leftist politics and dirty, irreverent mind get in the way of any semblance of intelligence or true art, much less any viable solutions to the terrible problems affecting Chicago’s south side, where many innocent people are threatened by evil, hedonistic thugs and social, moral, political, and spiritual degradation.
CHI-RAQ opens on a map of the United States made from the images of hundreds of guns. Statistics float on the screen summarizing the number of U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. These numbers are quickly followed by the more alarming statistic of the number of deaths related to gun violence in Chicago during the same time frame. Residents declare Chicago a war zone by its residents, particularly people on the South Side who deal with violent shootings every day. Supporting all this is a catchy rap tune lamenting the city’s militarized plight of the city.
One such resident is Demetrius Dupree, better known as Chi-Raq, an aspiring rapper and leader of the Spartan gang. His main beef is with the Trojan rival gang, headed by an eyepatch-adorned criminal named Cyclops. Both are armed to the teeth and make the majority of their money via drug sales. After several near-death experiences in Chi-Raq’s company, his girlfriend, Lysistrata, declares she’s had it with the violence between the two gangs.
One night while the two are in bed together, the Trojans set fire to Ch-Raq’s apartment, sparking a gun battle in the streets. Lysistrata decides to live with her neighbor, Miss Helen, a well-educated peace activist who lost her daughter years ago to a stray bullet from Chi-Raq’s father. Miss Helen inspires Lysistrata to adopt a strategy by the Liberian anti-war activist, Leymah Gbowee: use a sex strike to compel the men to make peace.
Inspired by Miss Helen, Lysistrata wastes no time rallying the wives, girlfriends and lovers of the Trojans and the Spartans. At first, the women resist her appeals, but after an 11 year-old neighborhood girl is accidentally killed in a drive-by shooting, the child’s murder arouses their motherly instincts and the strike starts.
Of course, the men balk at this event, telling the women they have a sexual duty to their men. If they refuse to fulfill it, the men threaten to turn to other women who are willing.
In an effort to bolster their cause, the women take possession of the local National Guard armory, using sex to seduce the male soldiers into submission where they can be tied up and kicked out. The Chicago mayor and police commissioner commiserate to retake the armory, fearing their political futures to be in jeopardy should they not regain control of the situation.
Meanwhile, a prominent pastor in the community confronts Chi-Raq about his egotistical attitude, which promotes violence. He begs him to reconsider his life and not follow the same path of his imprisoned father. Chi-Raq decides to confront Lysistrata directly and challenge her to a ring-style “sex match.” Whoever gives in first must surrender and capitulate to the demands of the other side. Everyone involved watches in eager anticipation to see whether peace will ultimately prevail.
CHI-RAQ is loosely based on LYSISTRATA, the Greek comedy by Aristophanes. It borrows a lot from Homeric Greek sources, invoking plenty of references to characters and peoples of THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY. The writers used their knowledge of all these ancient poems to dictate the style in which the story is told. Much of the dialogue is poetic, hyperbolically rhyming in much the same way LYSISTRATA does in places.
Although it comes across as annoying after a while, this connection between ancient Greek poetry and the poetry of modern-day rappers can’t be denied. In a culture that prides itself on its ability to rap freestyle, it seems fitting in an awkward sort of way. Another Greek-inspired tool of the theater is used as Samuel Jackson offers intermittent commentary as the narrator of the film, much like the Greek choruses of their time.
That said, CHI-RAQ the movie is way too long and there are too many scenes that act purely as vehicles for characters to spout off soliloquies full of leftist political propaganda – something for which the movie’s swarm of A-list stars gladly lend their talents. The story also lacks cohesion and skips around from one event to the next without much exposition in between these events.
Perhaps even worse, the radical, hateful, anti-cop Black Lives Matter agenda permeates this movie, calling out the militarization of police forces and the mistreatment of blacks in low-income communities. Even so, at least the movie recognizes the problem of black-on-black violence is recognized and dealt with, instead of Spike Lee trying to blame it all on other segments of the society.
However, Lee’s movie has no shortage of racism against whites, particularly southern whites, who were stereotypically demonized as confederate flag, gun-loving, racist warmongers. There is also a very strong gun control agenda at play, with the blame being laid on the guns themselves rather than the evil criminals the guns. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] In fact, the final scene depicts the surrender of guns to the government by the people and praises it as an act of love, which is apparently all that’s needed to fix the problem of violence.
Despite this, there is a positive spiritual, moral end-game in mind, which includes getting the murderers to “confess their sins” and give themselves up to authorities. Also, for example, the pastor of a local church plays a big role in the community, and several characters appear to be Christians, espousing prayer and reveling in the gospel songs sung by a choir at the church.
Overshadowing these positive Christian, moral elements are CHI-RAQ’s rampant sexual immorality, violence and foul language present in nearly every scene. Ultimately, whatever positive content and intentions CHI-RAQ may or may not have are irreparably damaged (if not destroyed) by this abhorrent, depraved, gratuitous content and Spike Lee’s politically correct leftism.
Finally, CHI-RAQ has a false, idealistic, somewhat superficial view of love as the only real security and answer to violence. This may be a minor point to some people, but it’s important to note here that Paul notes in Galatians 5:6 that faith in Jesus Christ must also accompany love: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself as love.” Thus, even in his movie’s praise of love, Spike Lee blind faith in leftist solutions stops him from arriving at a fully biblical view of the issues CHI-RAQ considers.