‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’ Combines Comedy With Serious Issue of Gun Violence in Chicago

'Barbershop: The Next Cut' Combines Comedy With Serious Issue of Gun Violence in Chicago
New Line Cinema

The third go-round for Ice Cube‘s Barbershop series has a strong message layered between the comedic moments. Taking a huge stance on gun violence plaguing the city of Chicago, Cube, who serves as the film’s producer, decided to use the platform to deliver a strong message to the youth of the windy city versus solely highlighting the antics of the shop like pervious editions.

As soon as the opening scene begins, the 1978 Earth, Wind & Fire hit song “September” fills the speakers and Ice Cube begins running through all of the treasures the mid-west city has gifted the world — like Oprah and the Bulls — it’s apparent this new chapter steps outside of the shop and into the streets of Chicago. At that moment, it’s also clear why Common was chosen to be a part of the film. Like his Grammy Award-winning song “Glory” and the 2014 album, Nobody’s Smiling, there’s a deeper purpose.

Most of the cast reunited for Barbershop: The Next Cut sans Michael Ealy. Eve (Terri), Cedric The Entertainer (Eddie) and Cube (Calvin) still remain in the shop while notable characters like Isaac and Jimmy also make appearances. Some ladies are also added in the mix as Calvin’s business had never fully recovered from the recession and is now part barbershop, part beauty shop, bringing on Regina Hall (Angie), Nicki Minaj (Draya) and Margot Bingham (Bree).

The co-ed-run business, which was once a man’s coveted domain, is now infiltrated and combatted at every turn by men and women alike. The lives of the veteran shop employees have also changed as Terri now has a family, Cube’s son is all grown up and Jimmy is established in his chosen career path. While Calvin has transformed from the selfish son of a celebrated community leader to that man himself, the irony beams as Ice Cube also morphs from a gangsta rapper into a harmonious hall-of-famer in hip-hop. The fact that the majority of the original cast is present is the first thing to draw viewer interest and the advanced plot helps them stay entranced.

The message embedded in the storyline is the bread and butter of the movie and a real wake-up call to Chicago youth. It’s pretty much what everyone hoped Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq would be; a stern reality check for the reckless youth. The third installment of the franchise features a heavy focus on gang violence and its effects. Tyga holds a notable role as Yummy, a member of what is assumed to be the Bloods gang. This time around, the neighborhood has taken a turn for the worst and Calvin is not only trying to save the barbershop but the neighborhood he grew up in as well.

The film is a solid addition to the trilogy and the social issues attached to it are likely to make much more of an impact than the previous two efforts. It’s great to see the franchise venture off in this direction and certainly worth a watch, especially for the youth in Chicago. While there’s no confirmation that this will be the last movie in the franchise, it certainly concludes on the perfect note.