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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No real positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Members of the Wu-Tang Clan, who had been rivals from different neighborhoods in Staten Island, connected and set aside their differences over the music they were making.
Violence & Scariness
Talk of how one of the members of Wu-Tang Clan set himself on fire in prison in order to be sent out of prison and into a mental health facility. Talk of street violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Member of Wu-Tang Clan talks about "p---y" while on tour.
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Frequent uses of "f--k" and its variations. "S--t," "p---y," "dick." One of the members went by "Ol' Dirty Bastard."
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Products & Purchases
Talk of how Wu-Tang Clan "expanded their brand" and also sold clothing and video games.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking. Marijuana smoking. Talk of drug and alcohol abuse. Struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, for one member in particular who died young.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan is a 2007 documentary about the rise, fall, and rebirth of one of the all-time greats of hip-hop. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's frequent use of "f--k" and its variations in songs and speech. There's strong language: a member of Wu-Tang Clan talks about "p---y" while on tour. There's some drinking and marijuana smoking, and talk of drug and alcohol abuse, and how it caused problems within the group and led to the early death of one of its members, Russell Jones, aka "Ol' Dirty Bastard." There's also talk of how Jones set himself on fire while in prison so that he would be transferred to a mental health facility. On the positive side, the documentary shows how the nine members who made up Wu-Tang Clan set aside their differences from coming up in rival factions for the sake of the music, and how they rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most-loved and best-selling hip-hop artists of all time. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While the first half of this documentary provides a decent overview of one of hip-hop's all-time greats, the second half loses focus. This lack of focus is to be expected in some ways when trying to tell a story of nine disparate performers working and performing together collectively and individually, but the result is unsatisfying. This is further compounded by what feels like limited access to footage, limited access to those in and around the group, and the sense that the material and story hit a little too close to home for the director, Gerald Barclay (aka "Gee-Bee," who directed their "Protect Ya Neck" video), who allowed the story of nine to become the story of one -- namely, Ol' Dirty Bastard and his struggles, imprisonment, and early death.
The story of the Wu-Tang Clan couldn't possibly be comprehensively told in a short feature-length documentary. It would require several volumes, similar in structure to several-hour documentaries on the Eagles and Tom Petty. It would need the full cooperation of everyone involved, a project that would both answer the questions of the lifelong fans and provide an introduction and overview of what happened for the casual viewer. Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan partially meets this demand, but still leaves a lot unanswered.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.