Movie Review: 'Panther' (1995) Mario Van Peebles' hyperactive docudrama about the Black Panthers. If there's anything the movie gets right, it's the militant spectacle of young black men, armed… R Drama Marcus Chong Courtney B. Vance Chris Rock
Movie Review

Movie Review: 'Panther' (1995)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
C+

Details Rated: R; Genre: Drama; With: Marcus Chong and Courtney B. Vance

Mario Van Peebles' hyperactive docudrama about the Black Panthers. If there's anything the movie gets right, it's the militant spectacle of young black men, armed with guns and the law, gazing with unblinking hatred into the eyes of their oppressors and saying, in essence, ''So, how do you like it?'' What Van Peebles' volatile showmanship can't conceal is Panther's historical glibness and its almost total lack of dramatic depth. As the Panthers begin to grab national headlines in 1967, they commandeer the attention of the FBI and its famously paranoid head, J. Edgar Hoover. For the events to have import, though, we need insight into the minds and souls of the Panthers themselves. Instead, the movie turns Huey P. Newton (Marcus Chong) and Bobby Seale (Courtney B. Vance) into stick-figure icons. C+

Originally posted May 12, 1995 Published in issue #274 May 12, 1995 Order article reprints