SDCC 2018: RZA’s CUT THROAT CITY Trailer Teases a Post-Katrina Heist

With a stacked cast to rival the director’s first crew.

It’s really got nothing to do with the movie they were promoting, but today Wesley Snipes uttered one of the best things ever said in San Diego. “He and I train with the same Shaolin master,” Snipes said of his Cut Throat City director RZA while on a panel for the film in Hall H.

This San Diego Comic Con panel was billed as a celebration of RZA’s history in music, movies, and martial arts, but the real focus was the Wu-Tang co-founder’s third feature film.

Cut Throat City isn’t actually a martial arts story; it’s a heist movie set in the 9th Ward of New Orleans in 2005, just after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Shameik Moore, of Dope and Into The Spider-Verse, plays Blink, an an aspiring comic book creator who just wants to get his graphic novel published. With his community devastated after the storm, he and three friends are drawn into a local gangster’s plan to exploit the hurricane-created chaos.

Alongside Moore and Snipes are Kat Graham, Demetrius Shipp Jr., Keean Johnson, Tyron Woodley, Denzel Whitaker, Terrence Howard, and T. I.

Here’s the first trailer, which shows off the film’s effective low-key aesthetic.

That looks like a big leap forward from RZA’s first film, The Man With the Iron Fists, released in 2012, and a definite evolution from Love Beats Rhymes, his 2017 sophomore effort. Looking at this footage, it seems obvious that RZA is not falling back on the slightly mystical martial arts image he cultivated as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan and in his first movie. He’s trying his hand in different genres and growing as a filmmaker, and this trailer is promising.

RZA and the rest of the panel didn’t explain too much about the film. Shameik Moore revealed that Snipes plays his father, while RZA explained T.I.’s gangster as a guy who sees the Katrina aftermath as a chance to make money by ripping off FEMA and other government programs.

On the panel, the cast and director frequently referenced the lingering effect of Katrina on the 9th Ward community, and the burden of responsibility they felt when offered the chance to give voice to the neighborhood. That positions this movie in the company of politically-aware material like Spike Lee’s Inside Man, which is a good place to be.  

Cut Throat City will be in theaters in early 2019.