Roger Guenveur Smith performs his one man show focusing on the life and times of Rodney King.

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Rodney King
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Roger Guenveur Smith performs his one man show focusing on the life and times of Rodney King.

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28 April 2017 (USA)  »

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An Incredibly Powerful Performance from Smith
1 May 2017 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Rodney King (2017)

*** (out of 4)

Roger Guenveur Smith's one-man show is the focus of this Netflix special, which was directed by Spike Lee.

The power of this film and everything good about it certainly comes from Smith. I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm a fan of his or that I even knew too much about the man. As the film started I was caught a bit off guard as this was a stand-up routine, a very theatrical one but as the film moved along it became a lot better.

Basically Smith is recounting the life and death of Rodney King and everything surrounding him. Obviously the beating he took and the start of the L.A. Riots are discussed but we get Smith reciting not only King's words but also the words of people around him. It could be a rap artist doing a song about him or it could be a media person saying something. Smith talks throughout the running time and it's rather amazing to see him be able to remember all of these lines and deliver them with such power.

Those expecting a straight documentary are going to be disappointed because that's not what this is. I'm not going to say I enjoy everything about this special because I didn't but at the same time Smith deserves an A+ for his performance and effort. I really thought he did a magnificent job with delivering the lines and managing to make you think about what he was saying even though he was delivering the lines extremely fast and on point.

RODNEY KING is a rather interesting and creative look at the life of a troubled man who found himself in many situations that he just didn't intend to be in.


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