Public Enemy Welcome to the Terrordome review

:. Director: Robert Patton-Spruill
:. Genre: Documentary
:. Running Time: 1:40
:. Year: 2007
:. Country: USA


It's been twenty years since Public Enemy hit the scene and not only rocked the boat, but capsized it. Apart from the heyday of Rage Against the Machine, there is no new voice on the radio (or on the TV or on the Ipod) who is as infectious in its mix of activist and beats. Hip hop and rap, along with pop & rock artists, seem to be more interested in cross marketing energy drinks, hawking cell phones, perfumes and clothing lines rather than making a kick ass record. It's a sorry state of affairs to see to see so much garbage mixed with complete apathy exported and ingested on a daily basis.

Robert Patton-Spruill's Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome takes a look at the influence Public Enemy has had in the music world and deconstructs their legacy. Featuring live concert footage, interviews and access to Flava Flav and Chuck D. as well as interviews with Tom Morello, Henry Rollins, the Beastie Boys and Talib Kweli, Patton-Spruill has crafted an ode to the group that changed the rules of the game.

Flava Flav is our Charlie Chaplin and Chuck D.'s translator; here we see him in all of his glory, one on one and antagonizing the rest of the band. Patton-Spruill rightly devotes time to the dynamic and sometime frustrating relationship between the two that has found balance and mellowed slightly in latter years. As Chuck D. organizes a pilgrimage to Abbey Road in London, who would have thought that of all those who flock to Abbey Road we'd see Flava crossing the street Beatle syle??

While Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) analyses lyrics and succinctly explains the socio-political influence of Public Enemy, Henry Rollins enters like a bull and paints a colorful portrait as both the giddy fan and musician. The documentary could have benefited from even more interviews with others outside of the music world-surely there's a filmmaker or writer with something to say?

Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome is a little long on current live concert footage when it would have been more interesting to see some great moments from their glory days-or even how their music was used in film, as in Spike Lee's groundbreaking Do the Right Thing. Sure, there's always the fear that too long a walk down memory lane makes a band seem like has beens, but that's hardly the case with the seminal Public Enemy.

  Anji Milanovic

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