As Alex Munoz, one of the four directors of "Riot" said, "We
are so focused on the future that we don't pause to take a look at our recent
past." So we have four directors of four different backgrounds looking
at the LA riots after the Rodney King decision. It is a powerful story,
masterfully told and brings to mind Robert Altman's technique of interweaving
storylines. Galen Yuen told me he was very happy to direct an Asian story
that didn't involve Uzi's and marital arts. His segment, "Golden Mountain"
is more concerned with the relationship between old China and new in the
form of father and son, Mako and Dante Basco. "Caught in the Fever"
is the Hispanic view of a young man who is drawn into the looting without
considering the consequences. It is tempting to tell you how each of the
stories is linked to the others, but that would take away the surprise.
"Empty" is the white police perspective and features Luke Perry
as a cop caught between his fellows officers and his belief that the Rodney
King incident was, in fact the officers fault. Perry is moving from teen
idol to actor and has a promising future. Easily the most moving episode
is the black take, "Homecoming Day" featuring Mario Van Peebles,
Melvin Van Peebles and the stunning as always Cicely Tyson. Mario has returned
to South Central to give his mother the good news of his wife's pregnancy
when the riots break out. This is deja vu for Tyson who lost her husband
in the riots of 1965. All of these intertwined stories help make sense
of a senseless riot and give fresh insight into race relations in America.