R 108min 2007
College student Wilson de Leon, Jr. never stood up for himself until the gangsters who killed his father came to settle a score. In a gripping, adrenaline-pumping showdown, Wilson and his mother decide to settle that score on their own terms in order to protect the people they love and earn back their family’s honor.
“Illegal Tender” is an salute to sing mothers everywhere and the children they raise. It’s tale of the American dream and the price that must be paid to achieve it. It’s also a cautionary tale of what “the game” can cost you.
Wanda de Jesus does a great job of portraying the single mother trying to raise her children to do better and have a better life than herself. She shows that single mothers can be the protector and provider, if she has too. Even without a formal education, she played the game before the game played her. Wanda de Jesus gives a perfect voice to the single mothers out there.
Wilson de Leon, JR. is a shelter person, who takes his good fortune for granted. When the assassins come and open his eyes. He steps up to take responsibility for protecting his family and find a solution to his family’s problem. When the dust clears, Rick Gonzalez portray of his evolution makes this film more entertaining.
What makes “Illegal Tender” stand out in my mind is that is about achieving the American dream and about facing the demons fo the past. Millie de Jesus took her money and made it work by investing in profitable stocks which in turned provide a life style better than the one she had. It’s something everyone things about at some point in life thinking of how to provide for the future.
The second thing that sticks out in my mind is that once the all the while Millie kept running from the demons of the past. But once they came into the light and Wilson was old enough to confront them she had enough confidence in her son to let him become a man. Wilson in an old gunslinger way came out fighting; fighting to protect the life of his family and the ones they love.
The special features on “Illegal Tender”are minimal at best. There are deleted scenes and a making of featurette. There is an making of and music video for “Dame Dome” by Que No. There are previews for American Pie Presents Beta House, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, The Kingdom, and White Noise 2.
I give it 4/5 Gs.