Dennis Hopper's Colors Just as Relevant Today as 1988

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Colors, directed by Dennis Hopper and starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, is a 1988 drama set in the barrios of L.A. during the gang wars that were gripping the country at the time, and gave an inside look at the gangs on both sides of the law.

Having recently just re-watched this film, I was shocked at just how much history is repeating itself. You just need to look on X or do a simple YouTube search to see the violence perpetrated by the thugs of today and the police brutality that grips our headlines on an almost daily basis.

The story begins with a rookie cop (Penn) wanting to clean up the streets by any means necessary. After witnessing his first gangland murder case, his temper starts getting the best of him and he is forced to partner with a seasoned veteran (Duvall) to learn how to really navigate the streets.

The film lets you see a blue Crip, a red Blood, and the Thin Blue Line Gang all navigate the streets of L.A. and forces the viewer to ask themselves: are the police really doing justice for the people they serve or are they just as bad as the gangs they are fighting.

The similarities of today’s inner-city climate and the time capsule of 1988 that Hopper was trying to convey are almost eerie at times. This film is a great example of history repeating itself and begs us as viewers to see both side of the aisle and to make our own conclusions as to what side to take. Personally, I feel that all three are the same. Police harass younger kids, which in turn leads them into the hands of the gangs that show them brotherhood and loyalty.

Duvall’s performance shines through as the cop that has only days to retire trope. Penn gives his best as the newcomer to the scene, with his actions making you hate him, but at the same time making you sympathetic to his personal life as well.

Shout Factory has re-released this film as part of its Shout Select Branding and added the features they could find to supplement the release.

*The Unrated Cut of The Film, Including Footage Restored from The International Cut and The Original Home Video Cut

*"A Cry of Alarm" – An Interview with Screenwriter Michael Schiffer

*"Cops and Robbers" – An Interview with Technical Advisor/Ex-L.A.P.D. Gang Division Dennis Fanning

Colors is a film which is in no way perfect by any means, but it’s rare to find a movie that is just as relevant today as it was when it was made 35 years ago. Definitely worth picking up the collector’s edition from AMAZON or direct from Shout Factory. You won’t be disappointed,

4.0 / 5.0