American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"Dangerous Ground'' begins with a promising idea and runs away from it as fast as it can.
The movie is set in South Africa-- where, we learn, young Vusi (Ice Cube) was forced to flee when he was 13, after being threatened by the police because of his connection to revolutionaries. Now 12 years have passed, there is a new South Africa under Nelson Mandela, and Vusi has returned from the United States to his homeland for his father's funeral.
This leads to some amusing moments of culture shock, as when Vusi, as the oldest son, is expected to cut the neck of a calf as a sacrifice for his father. He wants no part of it. "I left as an African. I came back as an American,'' he explains to his middle brother, a disaffected freedom fighter who has found no role in peacetime. Vusi is also more or less at a loss about what to do with his father's spear, which he has inherited.
All he really wants to do is drive his rental car back to the airport and fly back to San Francisco. But it will not be that simple. First, Vusi will have to abandon this interesting story about two cultures and bury himself in a plot that is more or less identical with dozens of other action movies about drug dealers and violent confrontations.