10 Best Jada Pinkett Smith Movies
Jada Pinkett Smith broke into the film industry with her debut performance in 1993 in Menace II Society. Her performance and the film at large received much praise. Since then, she has taken on a wide variety of roles, from drama to horror to family films. In 1997, she married fellow actor/musician Will Smith. They have two kids together, Jaden and Willow, who are both in the industry as well. Pinkett Smith is a master of her craft, capable of shifting comfortably into just about any role. Here are ten of her most laudable and enjoyable films to date.
In Michael Mann’s neo-noir film Collateral, a dedicated, skilled cab driver named Max (Jamie Foxx) finds himself unwittingly caught up in the goings-on of a hitman named Vincent (Tom Cruise). Pinkett Smith plays prosecutor Annie Farrell, one of Max’s riders as well as one of Vincent’s marks. With Collateral, Mann proves once again he is a master of the genre.
Mann’s biographical picture about the life of the titular Muhammad Ali during a few critical events including his conversion to Islam and his participation in the anti-Vietnam War movement. Will Smith plays the legendary cultural icon and boxer, while Pinkett Smith, his real-life wife plays Ali’s first wife Sonji Roi. It is a well-directed, moving film.
Scream 2 (1997)
In Wes Craven’s sequel to his hit slasher-comedy Scream, the events of the previous film are being made into a movie. The movie inspires a series of copycat killings. The revelation of these new killings send the lives of the survivors of the original murders into chaos. Pinkett Smith joins the cast of the film as Maureen Evans. Like Scream before it, Scream 2 is a clever, subversive and highly enjoyable film.
Set It Off (1996)
Set It Off is directed by F. Gary Gray, a director whose bona-fides in the heist genre are numerous. The film sees a group of four friends (played by Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise) forced into desperate situations. As a result of their circumstances, they conspire to rob a bank together. Set It Off is exciting and beautifully-acted
Magic Mike XXL (2015)
Magic Mike XXL is an undeniably fun ride. Having done away with the emotional exposition in the first film, its sequel is free to be a fun hang out film nearer to the style of Steven Soderbergh’s other series, the Ocean’s films. The titular Mike (Channing Tatum) and his friends get back together for “one last ride.” Pinkett Smith plays Rome, a talented emcee from Mike’s past whom he hopes will help them in their performance. It is a thoroughly enjoyable film.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
In the sequel to the Wachowski’s smash-hit The Matrix, the humans, led by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Neo (Keanu Reeves) continue the fight against the machines which enslave them. Pinkett Smith plays Captain Niobe, the pilot of Logos, one of the ships of the rebellion. It was not quite as well received as its predecessor, but the Wachowskis nonetheless show their incredible ability as world-builders.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
In the final film of The Matrix trilogy, Pinkett Smith’s Captain Niobe and the rest of the freedom fighters move toward their ultimate destiny of liberation or demise. Without spoiling too much, it is almost certainly the most insane film of the three. The relationship between humans and machines get increasingly complex and bizarre. It is a worthwhile film for any fan of science-fiction fantasy.
Girls Trip (2017)
Girls Trip offers exactly what its title describes: a girls trip starring Pinkett Smith, along with Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish and Regina Hall. The quadruplet of friends is looking to escape from the doldrums of their respective lives, cut loose, and reconnect with one another on a trip to New Orleans. With the combined comedic chops of the group, it is a film bound to make you laugh for a decent amount of its runtime.
In the Dreamworks Animation film Madagascar, a group of zoo animals from the Central Park Zoo are mistakenly dropped on the African island of Madagascar. Among them are an arrogant, self-centered lion named Alex (Ben Stiller), a jokester zebra named Marty (Chris Rock), a hypochondriac giraffe named Melman (David Schwimmer), and a confident hippo named Gloria (Pinkett Smith). Mishaps occur as they struggle to learn to survive on the island without the pampering they are accustomed to as zoo animals. They also meet an ignorant, narcissistic lemur king named King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen). It is a funny family film.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012)
The second sequel to Madagascar finds the four main characters still vying to return to their cushy, decadent lifestyles at the Central Park Zoo. Their travels lead them to Europe, where they are chased hither and thither by a French animal control officer (Frances McDormand). Funnily enough, this film was co-written by Noah Baumbach, a writer/director whose work is almost exclusively the stuff of arthouses. The film was criticized by some as “not having enough King Julien,” perhaps rightfully so. It is nonetheless a fun film.
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