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February 03, 2003 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-03

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February 3, 2003
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

DEREK LUKE
REVS UP FOR
STARDOM
By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
Derek Luke is 28-years-old. Derek Luke is mar-
ried. Derek Luke is nothing like his characters.
Over the weekend, "Biker Boyz" gave audiences
their second taste of Luke's acting - following
his cinematic debut in the critically lauded
"Antwone Fisher" - and as in the latter, Luke's
role in the former seems wholly different from the
man himself. That Luke can so credibly portray
younger and more volatile characters is a valida-
tion of his acting talent.
The mild-mannered and polite New Jersey-
born budding star has now played a series of
youths who struggle to find themselves while
carrying the burden of familial strife and insecu-
rity. In "Antwone Fisher," Luke starred in the title
role, a gentleman who was forced to overcome an
anger problem stemming from a childhood
replete with neglect, abuse and molestation.
"Biker Boyz" shows Luke as Kid, an angry 18-
year-old who witnesses his father's death, grows
estranged from his mother and grapples with the
revelation that his supposed biological dad was
really just a surrogate.
It is, of course, nothing new for an actor to play
a character significantly younger. However, Luke
is able to convey a convincing depth and sincerity
that few other actors - perhaps because they are

She said, 'Derek, you have a purpose. Whatever
you're called to do, that has your name on it.' I
don't believe that there will be a stereotype or any-
thing like that. I don't believe that I will be type-
cast," said Luke in a recent interview with The
Michigan Daily. "The next movie I'm in is 'Pieces
of April,' and that movie, as Bobby, is all about a
relationship with Katie Holmes. It's not about a
black-white thing; it's just a relationship between
two people who are in love. So I think that there
will be bigger things for me."
Those "bigger things" include, as Luke alluded
to, the romantic comedy "Pieces of April" that has
already been praised at the Sundance film festival.
However, aside from his obvious talent and auspi-
cious debut, Luke is also notable for the way in
which he was discovered.
"I was selling clothes and organizing DVDs in
(a Sony gift shop in LA). I had been working there
for five years, and I actually met the real Antwone
Fisher by happenstance about four years ago. A
friend and I went to lunch and we happened to sit
at the same table with a guy who happened to be
Antwone Fisher. He said that he was a writer -
you know, we talked - he's a writer, I'm an actor.
We talked about a script, I said 'Cool,' but then he
said, 'Denzel Washington' and my eyes sparked
because Denzel always brings quality to the
screen, that's what he's known for."
"So basically, I busted in on the audition; it did-
n't go well but I got a callback and it went ok.
Then (the project) was shut down for about three
years. I found out about it again, I got a callback
to meet Denzel Washington. After that, I read for
him but didn't hear anything."
"Three weeks later, I'm talking to Antwone,
who was in the store by happenstance I'm still
working in the store and going to auditions - and
we walk out to take a five-minute break. Denzel
Washington walks in and says (to me), 'Antwone!'
I hugged him, I kissed him, I started crying."

Honest Abe gives the ladies a little straight talk.
Historical figures fill
MVsClone Hig

Derek Luke: Not standing, just as strong.
better known, like Leonardo DiCaprio - can. The
actor's baby-face and laconic demeanor contribute
to his acting ability, making him seem both
younger and filled with more age-appropriate
angst. In fact, Luke has acquitted himself so well
thus far that it would seem easy to typecast him.
But he said otherwise.
"I'm doing a porno next. Seriously, my mother
told me something before I came to Hollywood.

'Boyz' left in the dust

By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
"Biker Boyz" is an at
one that successfully p
difficult task of squande
ents of Laurence Fis
Derek Luke, the exc
motorcycle racing and t
Orlando Jones ("Drumli
trived plot, predictable
inconsistent tempo all d
movie that has notable
individual elements.
One of these notable
facets of the film was
the acting of Luke
("Antwone Fisher").
Fisherplays Kid, an 18-
year-old whose father,
Tariq (Eriq La Salle,
"Coming to America"),
raises him on the "set"
- a late-night, undergrou
cle circuit Luke endows
with very real indignati
confusion. Luke succeed
seems keenly aware of h
bifurcating emotions, a
balances Kid's temper
nerability. Kid is a belie
sentation of a teenag
witnessed his father's dea

with much ambivalence and little
direction.
One night, as Smoke (Fishburne),
mazing film, the "King of Cali" and acknowledged
erforms the ruler of the set, is racing a challenger,
ring the tal- he loses control of his bike, and after
hburne and hitting a succession of parked motor-
itement of cycles, his chopper flies through the
he humor of air, killing Tariq as it propels him
ne"). A con- through a glass window. Tariq had
ending and been the chief mechanic for the
etract from a Black Knights, Smoke's motorcycle
crew. Following his
dad's passing, Kid starts
,hi own crew, the Biker .
** Boyz, and hones his
craft hoping to one day
BIKER BOYZ unseat Smoke and
At Showcase and avenge his father's death
Quality 16 simultaneously.
Audiences would
DreamWorks know even more about
the other Boyz had
and motorcy- director Reggie Rock Blythewood
his character included more motorcycle racing and
on, pain and stunts. However, save for a montage
s because he of artistic riding, there is little show-
is character's manship on display and the races on
nd he deftly which the film hinges are linear, with
with his vul- the bikers riding from point a to point
evable repre- b without any obstacles or curves.
er who has That absence, in some ways, ren-
th and is left ders the preeminence of Fishburne's

By Jaya Soni
Daily Arts Writer
Sixteen years ago Dr. Scudworth
and his evil scientist friends collabo-
rated to make the first group of
famous human clones. But first, they
had to create Mr. Sheepman, a "par-
tially human" clone and Clone
High's chair of history department.
His colleagues include aggressive
and angry physical education teacher
Eleanor Roosevelt and robotic coun-
selor Mr. Butlerton. With the founda-
tion of such an experienced faculty,
Clone High was estab-
lished in 1999, just as
the first generation of
famous clones entered j *N
freshman year.
The sight of six- ICLON
teen- year-old Joan of U
Arc and Abe Lincoln Mondays a
as they walk down
Clone High's corri- M
dors among other
greats as John F. Kennedy, George
Washington Carver and Vincent Van
Gogh is entertainment enough to
creaate the most twisted concept
since "Celebrity Deathmatch." Each
character replicates their "clone
mother" or "clone father" with a
modern slant of youth corruption.
However, unlike "Celebrity Death-
match," the show contains a plot
that sarcastically emulates other
teen dramas like "Dawson's Creek."
The students all depict a stereo-
type and an image that most high
school shows carry today. However,
the irony and humor in "Clone High
USA" is that famous historical fig-
ures known for their individuality are

fE
it

given a clich6 identity to interact
with. "Clone High USA" characters
are animated in a flat Picasso-like
cubic shape that is reminiscent of
Cartoon Network's "Cartoon Car-
toons." Dr. Scudworth plays a comi-
cally ineffective evil genius.
Joan is a teenage girl that asserts
uniqueness and clings to her identi-
ty as an artistic and "deep" student.
Ironically, the teenage martyr,
killed after leading the French into
battle and hearing "the voice of
God," is currently an atheist afraid
of fire. However, not expected and
unrelated is her pas-
sion for oblivious
best friend Abe.
Abe establishes tha
teenage romance
HIGH clich6 of the love tri-
SA angle and is "crush-
10:30 p.m. ing" on Cleo
(Cleopatra, Egyptian
TV Queen of the Nile).
Abe seems to be out
of reach for the popular belle as the
two have completely different inter-
ests. Abe is co-president of the Say
No To Drugs Cluband works part
time as a "TGI Chili's" dishwasher.
Cleo depicts her clone identity as a
love goddess and is known around
school for her partying and steamy
relationship with ladies man and
super-jock JFK.
"Clone High USA" deals with
themes similar to any prime time
WB show and yet it still has a dis-
tinct flavor of animated legends.
"Clone High USA" depicts respected
figures in such a bizarre realm of the
modern high school that the plot and
characters are pleasantly unrealistic.

No matter how fast they go, crotch rockets will just never be cool.

character unbelievable. Aside from
an exquisite bike, there is little that
seems to distinguish Smoke.
Instead, Fishburne is left to snarl
and strut while attempting to exude
testosterone.
The rest of the cast is almost obso-
lete, given their limited lines and
sparse screen time. Nineteen eighties
and early '90s pop culture devotees
will delight in this film's eclectic cast,
however. Present are Lisa Bonet of
"The Cosby Show," Kadeem Hardison
of "A Different World" and Larenz
Tate from "Menace II Society." But, no

actor's reemergence is as exciting as
Dante Basco's, who will likely never
top his performance as Rufio, King of
the Lost Boys, in "Hook." Basco and
his brother Dion steal a scene.
"Biker Boyz" is not particularly
exciting, not particularly funny and
not well directed. Many of the scenes
meant to develop the characters are
slow and do not mesh well with the
drama that the race scenes are
intended to evnke

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