Right about now, some folks are probably asking, “who?” when thinking about Samuel Monroe Jr. But the thing is that he has shown up in a few very influential movies over the years, but never as a positive character, which could be why he’s not as easy to remember. Being branded as a thuggish individual in one movie or another is bound to create a reputation or bury one at times since the role of a thug can be taken on by just about anyone if they have the right look. To be fair, there’s not a lot of information about Samuel out there to find, meaning that perhaps he keeps his personal life on the down-low, which really no one can blame anyone for at this point in time, or he hasn’t done much else with his career since some of the more noticeable roles he’s taken on. Looking at his IMDb page makes a couple of things very apparent. The first is that he’s still working, which is definitely a big upside, and the second is his biography looks like something that was written by someone that’s more interested in talking him up rather than giving facts.
Trying to break down all of his characters is a little too easy since he’s played roughly the same character in a lot of his movie appearances. He’s either been a thug, a gangbanger, or some version of the two that makes it clear that he’s not a nice guy. His first role as Ileenea’s Cousin (that’s the actual credit) in Menace II Society has been parodied in the past and largely forgotten by some folks despite the fact that his part in the movie sparked the final confrontation that ended the movie on a serious cliffhanger. The kind of violence that’s shown in the movie is used as a running example of what people in certain parts of the country have to deal with on a constant basis, but it’s also a narrative that Monroe has taken part in more than a few times in his career.
Amusingly enough, this role was parodied in Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, a movie starring Shaun and Marlon Wayans, as well as their older brother Keenan, who cameos at certain points within the movie. Monroe played pretty much the same character, only this time after being stomped into the pavement the cartoonish quality of the movie took over and revealed that he’d been smashed flat as a pancake. Another movie that people might remember him in is Tales from the Hood, a horror anthology that goes through four different stories as Monroe, playing the character of Bulldog, and his two companions roll up on a mortuary when it’s discovered that the mortician has come upon an unknown quantity of goods that one might infer would be narcotics or something just as illegal judging by the eager manner of the trio. The amusing part is that as the mortician, played by the late, great Clarence Williams III, isn’t really a mortician, and the tales he tells the trio are a precursor to the ending that they’ve been working towards as they’re made aware that they’ve already died and gone to hell.
Another character, and possibly one of the most disturbing that Monroe has played, is Junior from The Players Club. While the movie itself is pretty disturbing as to how it treats women, even though the lead actress proves to be a strong and capable individual, Monroe’s character is one of the more despicable despite not being in the movie that long. Junior is a man that’s supposed to be getting married the day after his bachelor party, and he’s also the brother of Ronnie, one of the most scandalous strippers at The Player’s Club. The disturbing part of this is that Ebony, the cousin to the main character, is set to dance at Junior’s bachelor party, but after the suggestion made by one of his friends, Clyde, who is played by Ice Cube, Junior ends up raping Ebony and passing it off as though it’s not a big deal. Worse still, since everyone leaves after hearing what’s going on behind the closed door, Ronnie and Junior run, leaving Ebony unconscious and badly beaten.
His own personal character is definitely far different than the characters he plays, and he’s had a chance in his career to play a few more positive individuals thankfully, but it’s fair to think that unless he comes up with a few other memorable roles, these are the ones that he’ll be remembered for. One thing that can be said for his ability though is that he does make a person believe that his characters are horrible people. So he’s definitely talented.
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