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'Chi-Raq,' ‘Barbershop 3’ and Chicago: Two Tales, One City

The newly-released Spike Lee film "Chi-Raq" and "Barbershop 3" (in theaters next year), both tackle gun violence specifically in Chicago.
‘Chi-Raq,’ ‘Barbershop 3’ and Chicago: Two Tales, One City
Chuck Zlotnick

The newly-released Spike Lee film Chi-Raq and Barbershop 3, which is slated to arrive in theaters next year, both tackle gun violence specifically in Chicago. In 2015 alone, 2771 people have been shot in the bustling mid-western city. But as the trailers for each movie proves, there is more than one way to address the subject.

What makes the two approaches even more fascinating is that Lee-directed Chi-Raq, which stars Teyonah Parris and Samuel L. Jackson, while his younger cousin Malcolm Lee directed Barbershop 3. It should also be noted that both movies star actual Chicago natives. Chi-Raq boasts a cast that includes Chi-town originals Jennifer Hudson and John Cusack. Meanwhile, Common, who famously hails from Chicago, is costarring in Barbershop 3

In terms of style and delivery, Chi-Raq is more visual, political, subversive and edgy as a movie concept and a trailer. Lee, who is known for being provocative, doesn’t hold back and uses gender and even religion to spin a story about a group of women who withhold sex to put an end to senseless violence. Here’s the trailer:

Barbershop 3, in contrast, relies on humor to convey uplifting messages, just as its two predecessors did. They were also set in Chicago. This time around, Calvin (Ice Cube), his family, friends and fellow barbers set out to rid their neighborhood of gun violence proving that everyday people can fight for what is right. Here’s the trailer:

What do you think of the two vastly different approaches and solutions to ending gun violence in Chicago and America as a whole? Which style appeals to you more? Weigh in below.

Chi-Raq is in theaters. Barbershop 3 arrives in theaters in April 2016.