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A 1996 crime drama movie directed by F. Gary Gray. It stars Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett, Kimberly Elise and Vivica A. Fox.

Frankie Sutton (Vivica A. Fox) is an ordinary bank teller who is unfortunate enough to be behind the desk on the day that a group of bank robbers hit her place of work. The robbery goes wrong, with several people, including one of the robbers, ending up dead. To make her day even worse, the bank fires her after the police reveal that she knew one of the robbers in front of her boss. With no job, no money, and her life spiralling out of control, she joins her friends Cleo (Latifah), Stony (Pinkett), and T.T. (Elise) working meager, minimum wage jobs as janitors under their foul-mouthed, abusive boss Luther. After Stony's brother is gunned down and T.T.'s son is taken by the CPS, Frankie comes up with a plan to get them the finances they need to survive—by taking it from her former employers.

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Their first robbery goes off without a hitch, and the women find themselves with more cash than they possibly could have imagined. Unfortunately, their ill-gotten gains threaten to cause a rift between the friends, as some are worried about the consequences of becoming criminals, while others are driven by greed to hit more banks. Not making things any easier is LAPD Detective Strode (John C. McGinley), who is determined to put a stop to this new group of would-be fugitives and end their crime spree before it begins.

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Tropes:


  • Asshole Victim: The girls' jerkass employer Luther, who steals (and spends) some of the money from their second robbery. The girls track him down and attempt to force him to return what's left of their score, but are forced to kill him when he resists by pulling a gun, leaving the whereabouts of the money unknown.
  • Bank Robbery: Four in total.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Most of the gang who take part in the opening bank robbery get killed. The girls never have a chance to benefit from their robberies. The proceeds of their second robbery are stolen before they can spend it, and rather than cutting their losses and just laying low until their trail goes cold, they end up killing the guy who took it before he can tell them where he stashed it and executing a third robbery soon after, with the police already dangerously close to catching them for the murder and the prior robberies.. Finally, all but Stoney are killed before they can enjoy their final score.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Stoney gets away with the stolen money, but her brother and friends are all dead, and she also had to leave behind her boyfriend Keith, and unless she makes it to a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S., she's going to spend a lot of time running and looking over her shoulder.
  • Butch Lesbian: Cleo. Her girlfriend Ursula is a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Call-Back / Armor-Piercing Question: "What's the procedure when you've got a gun to your head?"
  • Car Meets House: Or rather, car meets bank.
  • Cowboy Cop: All the cops in this movie are extremely trigger-happy. At the start of the movie, they gun down Stoney's unarmed brother. They riddle Cleo's car with bullets while pursuing her and also shoot Frankie in the back when she tries to run away from them.
    • Same goes for the security guard at the last bank robbery.
  • Crapsack World: What drives the women to start robbing banks. Frankie gets fired merely for knowing one of the guys who robbed her bank. The other three are low paid janitors and have to work for a sexist and jerkass boss. Stoney sees her brother gunned down by the police. Tisean faces having her son taken away by the state because she cannot afford to look after him.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The beginning of the movie wants you to think that Frankie is the main protagonist. However, the main protagonist turns out to be Stoney.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The girls decide to start robbing banks without considering the likelihood of them being caught, or that they and other people will probably end up getting hurt.
    • They also didn't consider the possibility that stashing money away in a heavily-used office building would lead to it being discovered at some point. How they cope with this afterwards (tracking down the man who stole it and killing him when he resists instead of just cutting their losses and laying low for a while) counts also.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Apparently knowing the person robbing the bank where you work and being too panicked to trip the alarm because you just saw your coworker get killed right in front of you is enough to get you fired and fingered as a possible accomplice to said robbery.
    • Mind you, none of that justifies turning to a life of crime yourself out of pure spite.
  • The Ditz: There are some moments where T.T. proves that she isn't the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. She's a sweetheart, though.
  • Dying Momentof Awesome: This is how Cleo dies, after losing T.T. and splitting up from Frankie and Stoney. She tries to hold the cops up long enough, and after realizing she's got nothing left, she decides she won't go down without a fight. She gets executed firing squad style after jumping out of her car to shoot cops.
  • For Want of a Nail: If the girls had stuck to their own rules and left the final robbery once their time limit was up instead of delaying to steal more money, they probably would have got away before the police arrived.
    • Had Frankie used her other hand to trip the alarm, she likely would not have been fired for breaching protocol and placed under suspicion.
    • And had the SWAT Team holding Stony's brother at gunpoint actually taken a moment to identify what he was pulling out of his jacket, the confrontation would not have ended in his death and given Stony a motivation to throw her dice in with the original robbery plan.
  • Gangsta Style: The bank robbers at the start of the movie wield their guns like this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Det. Strode helps get Frankie fired when he grills her about the opening bank robbery, but he later starts to sympathize with the women, especially when Stoney's brother is killed by a S.W.A.T. team led by him in a case of mistaken identity. In the end, he lets Stoney get away because he realizes he was one of the ones responsible for ruining the girls' lives and turning them to crime.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cleo makes one to help Stoney and Frankie get away.
  • Hot Pursuit: The final robbery results in one of these.
  • Hubris: As the women get more successful, they start getting careless. Cleo steals her first car from an underground parking lot and wears gloves. By the end she's stealing cars in broad daylight and stops bothering with the gloves. In the final robbery they abandon their time limit in order to steal more money.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • The security guard during the last robbery fires several shots, only one of them hits someone(that someone being T.T.). That same guard later gets lit up by Cleo and Stoney.
    • During the final standoff Cleo fires an Uzi directly at Strode and Waller, but somehow misses both of them.
    • At least a dozen cops open fire on Cleo's car but not one bullet hits
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