surprised at just how much I enjoyed Chris Robinson’s ATL, which I didn’t end
up catching until long after its quietly profitable box office run last year.
When I saw the trailers/TV spots for a nostalgic “hood” coming-of-age flick
starring a rapper (T.I.), my kneejerk reaction was “Here we go again.” But ATL
turned out to be quite the polished, well-acted (if formulaic) little flick,
and the heart of the film lay with one Evan Ross, a dimunitive and appealing
gent previously known only as being the son of Diana Ross. Ross played T.I.’s
wayward younger brother that drifted toward the temptations of the streets and
the stunting imagery of hip-hop videos like so many foolish urchins these days.
It’s a stock role as written, but Ross’ impish charisma took it to another
level, and he made a good showing for himself.

Still, it
never occurred to me that the film needed to be remade in a border patrol/gang
setting with a more questionable director. And yet, that’s what Ross is
attached to now. He just joined up with Linewatch, the Cuba Gooding Jr.
starrer. In the film, Ross would play the wayward nephew of an ex-gang
member-turned-border patrol agent (Gooding) who falls into his uncle’s old
lifestyle. When Gooding clashes with the gang, he has to strap up and whoop
some ass in the name of protecting his family. It’s unlikely that this film
would have a pleasantly comedic/psychotic foil like ATL’s Big Boi for Gooding
to play against, but we can hope, I suppose. Making matters worse, the film is
directed by Kevin Bray, whose last gig was the Ambien-esque remake of Walking

fret for Ross too much, tho. He’s appearing in Tony Kaye’s recently recast Black
Water Transit
, and probably will continue to get intermittent relief
from urban/hood flicks with his clean-cut looks. Just remember to say no if
they offer you anything starring DMX or Xzibit, Evan. As a matter of fact,
anybody does that….knock ‘em the fuck out, son.