Ice Cube isn’t really thought of as a movie star these days, but there was a time when he had made the move to the big screen and it looked like he was going to be there for good. Sure, he’s still taking roles out there, some of them even damn funny ones. He’s been putting in work on the small screen with a bunch of television credits but in terms of the big-time flick? That’s fewer and far between. But right now you can catch one of his earlier films which is blowing up on Netflix right now. All About the Benjamins is currently the third-most streamed movie on Netflix in the United States.
All About the Benjamins came out in 2002 and stars Ice Cube as Tyson Bucum, a Miami-based bounty hunter. Through a series of events too inane to really describe, he becomes embroiled in a caper that involves art thieves, an ex-con, a lottery ticket, a lot of shooting, some one-liners, a bazooka, more shooting, and eventually some kind of resolution. It’s a crazy film, meant to highlight the backdrop of the glitz of Miami and to put Ice Cube as much on-screen with that trademark sneer as possible. It’s funny in an early-2000s kind of way when the comedic bar was just a little lower.
For a little taste of what an early-2000’s comedy had in store for you, check out what Ice Cube looks like in the trailer for All About the Benjamins
This movie is essentially a buddy-cop movie even though neither of the two main characters are police officers. Ice Cube is as close as it comes considering he’s armed as a bounty hunter. But he’s unwittingly paired up with one of his targets, Reggie Wright who is played by Mike Epps. The two end up partnering to take down the jewel thieves and retrieve the winning lottery ticket Wright accidentally lost when his wallet falls into the bad guys’ hands. Again, this flick is very silly. Other notable names include Eva Mendes who plays Reggie’s girlfriend (so he’s doing all right there) and Tommy Flannigan who plays the thieves’ boss.
All About the Benjamins performed pretty much how you’d expect with critics, scoring 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and 34% on Metacritic. Some were able to see past the shenanigans and find some comedy mined out of the movie, but most just saw it as a farce, too silly to be taken seriously even for a comedy. But a lot of willing viewers were still able to latch on, hence the great streaming numbers and its audience score is much higher at 77%.
Ice Cube was still a moderate box office draw at this point, though the movie was barely able to double its budget. It made right around $27 million in ticket sales as compared to that $15 million in operating and production costs.
This movie did come at a time when Ice Cube was part of some major hits on the big screen. In the same year, he would come out with and star in Barbershop which was a somewhat surprising hit, earning $77 million at the box office and starting a mini-franchise of movies.
And in the previous years he’d been part of some major big-budget productions as well as sneakier cult hits. In 1999 he starred with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in David O. Russell’s Three Kings. He was also in John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars as well as the snake-horror movie Anaconda. These were all springboarded by his star turn alongside Chris Tucker in Friday.
Now Ice Cube is having something of a movie resurgence. After a three year break from acting gigs, he’s set to take part in some upcoming films. Currently in pre-production are The Killer’s Game and Flint Strong about the first female boxer to win gold in the United States. And finally, he’s set to team back up with Kevin Hart in Ride Along 3. But until then, make sure to check out one of his earlier movies. Sure, it’s silly but it’s also a good reminder that Ice Cube could, and still can, bring it on screen.