Bones is a 2001 American horror film directed by Ernest Dickerson and starring rapper Snoop Dogg as the eponymous Jimmy Bones, a murdered gangster that rises from the grave to avenge his death. The movie is an homage to blaxploitation films of The '70s and incorporates numerous elements from the genre. The film stars Snoop Dogg as Jimmy Bones and Pam Grier as Pearl. Other cast members include Katharine Isabelle, Michael T. Weiss, Clifton Powell and Ricky Harris among many others.
The movie is about Jimmy Bones (Snoop "Doggy" Dogg), who is a legendary protector and patron of his thriving neighborhood. Cool, handsome and respected - Bones is the benevolent caretaker of his people until he is betrayed by those closest to him. Flash forward 20 years, crime and drugs have crumbled the neighborhood and Jimmy Bones has become a charismatic emblem of better times. But his spirit is about to make a comeback.
This film provides examples of:
- Ambition Is Evil: Jeremiah's first flashback establishes him as being resentful of how Jimmy refuses to accept criminal deals which could help him advance in the world. When Jimmy says he's fine with the status quo, Jeremiah replies that "you got all the status, and I got nothing but quo." He pressures Jimmy to partner with Eddie and Lupovich to get rich selling drugs, and while he's horrified during Jimmy's actual murder, he's unrepentant about helping to turn his old neighborhood into a slum.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Pearl does this twice; first when Jimmys murdered, then as her last words to him before her Heroic Suicide.
- Animal Motifs: Jimmy Bones is associated with dogs; as shown by the symbiotic relationship with the dog/hellhound, Bones.
- Anti-Villain: Jimmy Bones genuinely cared for the neighborhood and turned down the drug empire because it would ruin the lives of the community. When he comes back to life, he only targets the people who betrayed him and would leave everyone else alone if they stayed out of his way. His former bodyguard, Shotgun, was spared the fate of hell, Bones genuinely loved Pearl, and he sincerely tried to die with her when she sacrificed herself to save their daughter. His ultimate goal was to restore the community to its former glory and undo the damage caused by the drug empire.
- As the Good Book Says...: Shotgun quotes Bible verses at several points, most notably after seeing the hellhound kill two Frat Bros buying drugs.Shotgun: For outside are dogs and sorcerers ... Revelation 22: 15.
- Asshole Victims: Most of the people that Jimmy kills are drug dealers, a prostitute, and a corrupt cop.
- Back from the Dead: Jimmy Bones comes back from the dead to get revenge on those who killed him.
- Bare Your Midriff: Several of Tia's shirts show off most of her stomach.
- Big Brother Instinct: Patrick refuses to let his younger sister Tia accompany him during the climax due to how dangerous it is. In a deleted scene, he and Bill also race to help Tia when she's in danger from a fire Jimmy set, and don't get mad when she thinks that she set it by mistake.
- Black Comedy:
- Eddie Mack's talking decapitated head is funny in most of his scenes as he is constantly complaining and is trying to get on Jimmy's good side by cheering him on when he goes after the others.
- His reaction to getting Lupovich's blood on him is asking Jimmy "Was that really fucking necessary, man?".
- Bumbling Henchman Duo: Drug dealer Eddie Mack has a pair of dim-witted gangbanger henchmen who always appear together.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Every time the black dog eats meat and human "meat", Jimmy's body regenerates.
- Dirty Cop: Lupovich has spent at least twenty years taking bribes from drug dealers and helped murder Jimmy Bones when he tried to keep the dealers away.Detective Lupovich: Don't you think I deserve something extra for knocking out the competition?Eddie Mack: Shit, you was just doing your motherfuckin' job.Detective Lupovich: The last thing you need is for me to start doing my fucking job.
- Downer Ending: Jimmy Bones possesses his daughter Cynthia and attacks Patrick.
- Dragged Off to Hell: The fates of Lupovitch, Jeremiah, and Eddie Mack.
- Escaped from Hell: Jimmy does this pretty much.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Jimmy still loves Pearl and Cynthia is the daughter they conceived before his death.
- Jeremiah is complicit to murder and drug-dealing, but he wants his sons to have advantages he didn't have (although he expresses this pretty coldly) and is seen looking nostalgically at pictures of them as children. He also seems to be a good stepfather to Tia, as she calls him "Daddy," and he is upset when Lupovich makes a lecherous comment about her.
- Females Are More Innocent: Four of the five notable female characters (Cynthia, Pearl, Tia, and Jeremiah's second wife) are utterly nice and caring characters. This isn't true for the fifth, Eddie Mack's hooker, but she's still not quite as bad as the rest of his organization. Every prominent male character besides Patrick and Bill engages in some form of criminal behavior (although Jimmy and Shotgun are Lovable Rogues).
- The Ghost: Jimmy is this throughout the movie until literally coming back as one in the climax of the movie.
- Friend to All Living Things: When Tia finds a stray dog in the abandoned building, she approaches him gently, offering him her hamburger upon seeing that he's hungry, and then takes him home with her.
- Heroic Suicide:
- Pearl setting herself on fire to destroy her dress with Jimmy's blood on it to put his soul to rest. Ends up being a Senseless Sacrifice when he just possesses their daughter who has his blood in her.
- Jimmy also did this as well, as he lunged forward onto the blade so Pearl would be saved from Lupovitch without needing to stab him herself.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Jeremiah sees his betrayal of Jimmy as this, but this is subverted as it is clear that he betrayed him for the money and because he was jealous of him.
- It's Probably Nothing: In a flashback, Pearl reads Jimmy's palm and senses that he's in danger if he goes to the meeting with Eddie Mack, but he ignores her concerns.
- Lack of Empathy: After shooting Jimmy and observing Pearl sobbing in grief, Lupovich is preoccupied with how he's gotten blood on his best suit.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Jeremiah is a Sharp-Dressed Man who is contemptuous of his old neighborhood, while his children are hipsters who want to revitalize his old neighborhood and bring something good back to it. At the end of their first scene, they help Cynthia and Pearl (who are both strangers to them) carry their groceries in from the street.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: After Jimmys body regenerates and he lays waste to the club, Pearl reveals the truth to Cynthia.Cynthia: (sobbing) He tried to kill us.
Pearl: If he wanted to kill you, you wouldve been dead already.
Cynthia: Wh-Who is he? What was he?
Pearl: Your father. He was your father. You have his eyes.
- Mercy Kill: Jimmy kills his former bodyguard but spares him the fate of his main targets and he sings to him as he lays dying.
- Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters: Jimmy Bones refused to ever deal drugs because he was aware of damaging it would be for the neighborhood.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Jimmy Bones has a lot of similarities to Julius Caesar; both being powerful and popular figures, who had their loved ones tell them they were going to die, were stabbed to death by those they worked with, one of their murderers felt envious of them, and were betrayed by an alleged friend.
- Non-Indicative Name: Jimmy's bodyguard Shotgun is seen using pistols and rifles but never shotguns.
- One-Word Title
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Downplayed with Tia, who comes from a predominantly white gated community. She doesn't use African-American slang, but does wear inner city-style sunglasses and head kerchiefs, while being fully on board with Patrick's plan to revitalize the African-American neighborhood he grew up in by opening a nightclub there. In her first scene, she's also wearing a tank top with pictures of a black celebrity on it.
- Pursued Protagonist: The film opens with Shotgun fleeing from Jimmy's hellhound to establish the danger it poses, barely locking himself inside his apartment in time.
- Revenge by Proxy: Jimmy also kills the people associated with the people who killed him.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The whole plot of the movie is Jimmy getting revenge for his own murder.
- Robbing the Dead: When the main characters find Jimmy's body in the basement of the new nightclub, Maurice takes his diamond ring after the others leave, breaking off one of his skeletal fingers in the process.
- Sadistic Choice: Lupovitch, after shooting Jimmy in the flashbacks, convinces everyone in the room with him to stab Jimmy with his switchblade ...by pointing a gun at them. The idea is that each of them shares responsibility in Jimmy's death, making it impossible for any of them to go to the police. Because if they do, all of them would go to jail. Of course it would be especially bad for them, because they are all black and it is the 70s. Which means that they would get a harsher sentence, with only their word against Lupovitch, who is a white cop.
- Someone to Remember Him By: In the third act, its revealed that Pearl was pregnant when Jimmy was murdered, which makes Cynthia his daughter. When Pearl reveals the truth, she tells Cynthia that she has her fathers eyes.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The protagonists as they were told from the beginning not to feed the dog and not to stay at that house. If they had done that, Jimmy wouldn't have been able to come back from the dead. To be fair on them though, it's not like they knew the symbiotic relationship between Jimmy and the dog.
- Maurice for following that woman upstairs as he should have known that something was off by the fact that she wasn't speaking. This decision leads to his death.
- Bill for following Maurice's "ghost" by himself. This decision leads to his own death.
- Town with a Dark Secret: More like neighborhood with one, as most of the people from the neighborhood know what is going on with that house.
- Trying Not to Cry: Despite all of his bad qualities, Jeremiah seems genuinely upset and horrified as he is forced to stab Jimmy, and is struggling not to cry.
- Where da White Women At?: Jeremiah and Eddie, both of whom have sold out the black community, are romantically involved with white women.