Halloween Endurance Test: Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
Over the years, we’ve seen our little Leprechaun grow up right before our eyes. From launching Jennifer Aniston’s career (famously her last wish in the film was to be starring in a long-running, wildly popular, and insanely boring sit-com), to driving a Death Race 2000 car, to growing to normal boy-size (and then some!). Who would’ve imagined, after nearly conquering space, the Leprechaun would make his boldest move: taking on Ice-T.
This is a grudge match to end all grudge matches. Forget King Kong Vs Godzilla; no one can tell who won. Forget Freddy Vs Jason; Jason won, decapitating Freddy, he just couldn’t extinguish the life out of Krueger’s lifeless, sort of child-molesting eyes. Hell, we already know Ice-T’s going to win; before even watching it.
[Editor’s note: Okay, I was wrong here. Ice-T does die, but damn, how hard the Leprechaun has to try to get him there. He ends up taking two slugs that would’ve been fatal to any mere mortal, before having his stomach blown out by the Leprechaun’s magic.]
Why would I think Ice-T’s such a bad-ass? Well, Ice-T’s a gangster rapper who plays a cop on TV. Taking this role _after_ every law enforcement agency in the country had their sights on him for writing a song called “Cop Killer.” A song Ice-T performed with his metal band, Body Count. A rapper, vilified by the police, playing a cop when he’s not writing heavy metal tunes? And the Leprechaun’s got what? Some gold coins and wonky magic?
This movie was practically over before it started.
Taking an obtuse, yet inspirational cue from Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun in the Hood openly admits to its lack on continuity. The opening montage stating that the “solution” to the world’s Leprechaun problem is “unknown.” It then immediately contradicts itself by taking its following visual cues from Leprechaun 3.
Yes, Leprechaun 3’s protective gold medallion is back, though this time it doesn’t so much protect the wearer as much as it turns the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) into a statue. They throw a magical gold flute in there for good measure too; mainly because the mythos wasn’t rambling enough.
Mack Daddy (Ice-T) gets the flute, while the Leprechaun gets trapped again. Fast forward 30 years, and Mack is a big time music producer when he meets Postmaster P (Anthony Montgomery), Stray Bullet (Rashaan Nall), and Butch (Red Grant). Postmaster’s “P” stands for “positivity,” though their Native Tongues vibe doesn’t last long.
Mack Daddy tells them to toughen up their image or get lost, they plan revenge, and accidentally shoot Mack during their botched burglary of his place. During which Butch frees the Leprechaun, who immediately gets blown to pieces by their firearms.
Immediately making this one of the more interesting Leprechaun films. As the prologue admitted, there’s never been a clear consensus on how to defeat the Leprechaun. And while guns don’t kill him here either, they dismember him just fine. It’s interesting to see that the Leprechaun’s impervious to death, but not to damage.
The film then follows the boys fleeing from both Mack Daddy and the Leprechaun; holding onto the Leprechaun’s wish-granting gold flute. (Clearly the flute is made from leftovers of the magic gold coins the Leprechaun had in Vegas.) In their travels the boys meet Ms. Foutaine (Lobo Sebastian), the Leprechaun’s first cross-dressing victim, and Reverend Hamson (Ivory Ocean).
The Leprechaun’s gold coins aren’t the only piece of franchise history resurrected. Wrought iron is still capable of containing the Leprechaun; for reasons unknown to everyone except the scriptwriters. His weakness to four-leaf clovers is also brought back, this time creatively, with our boys loading the Leprechaun’s joints with them.
New to the Leprechaun’s arsenal are zombie fly girls! Though they really don’t do much except distract our male characters with their evil, green glowing eyes. Which is a shame, as Jay Lee would base his Zombie Strippers! off this idea.
I don’t think this film gets enough credit for being as solid as it is. Transgressive as hell; as already mentioned, there’s one minor cross-dressing character, and one scene where the major players also have to don women’s clothing. One going so far as almost giving the Leprechaun a hand-job!
Those are pretty risque plot pieces for a movie that’s just supposed to be a cheapie cashing in on hip-hop culture. Unlike, say, Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horrors which really is just a cheap exploitation film making some easy cash off of its hip-hop connection. Easily one of the more adventurous installments in the series.
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