People immediately associate action flick with bad movie, step into the movie theater/sit down on the couch, and watch it without looking deeper into it. In this movie's case, I must harp on that. The plot may leave a little to be desired, but the acting is quite decent if not tremendous in some scenes.

Dennis Leary plays an amazing villain in this movie. You watch it and wouldn't even think that he was a comedian. A particular scene that encapsulates his evil lunacy is set on the roof of one of the projects, when he tells Ray that Ray is the exact type of person he absolutely hates. The look of the devil in his eyes and a crooked grin filled with smoke stained teeth even makes you wonder whether Dennis has played this part before... for real.

Steven Dorff plays the adorable high school graduate with zig zags in his pocket. As a soulful newbie thrust into the 'real world' he agonizes over other people's misfortune. Definately a keeper.
Not all of the acting is stellar. Though it may just have been his written role, Cuba was a little hard to stomach after a while. His wild eyed stares, exaggerated expressions and sudden mood swings in the face of fear are jarring and stink of overacting.

Major props go to the attention to detail the screenwriters had. The setting is just as recognizable to us south siders as beverly hills 90210 was to people living there. Little things everywhere enrich each scene, like the afore mentioned zig zags.
Factually, the movie has it's ups and downs as well:
The setting for the movie is pretty realistic. It's set in the near south side of Chicago, if you're familiar with it, think: a few blocks west of the river, south of maxwell street and north of chinatown. However, the percentage of non-black people living in the projects in the third action sequence is flabbergasting. Obviously it was a decision aimed toward political correctness, yet with the movie already having so many setting specific plot lines (the rail yard, the sequence in Cullerton Market, etc), this surprised me.

Overall it's a great movie; a must see if only for that Dennis Leary scene. Its soundtrack is well chosen, especially for its mixture of intelligent hiphop and hardcore. And fred durst thought he was anything CLOSE to innovative.

However, being the early nineties, it's message is pretty destructive to any sort of white reeducation: