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‘Domino: Battle of the Bones’ review: When they reminisce over you

Throw them bones.

Domino: Battle of the Bones is a reminder of Snoop Dogg’s prolific movie career. He has been in everything from comedy to horror – and has done very well in them. His latest film is about a former domino champion who enlists the help of his grandson to reclaim his past glory. In other words, it is a plot that fits perfectly on Snoop Dogg’s resume.

The film is reminiscent of comedies from the 1990s. The setting is Compton and the grandson is white. This leads to lots of misunderstandings between the white and Black characters. Battle of the Bones is not making any commentary though. The jokes are along the lines of “Black people drive like this; white people drive like this.” 

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This means there is plenty of antiquated comedy, but Battle of the Bones is still able to bring the laughs. It is odd to see a script that is not a throwback but also does not try to bring itself into the modern world. It is refreshing and derivative at the same time. It is a weird mix of not brining anything new to the table, but not rehashing jokes from other movies.

Battle of the Bones is also filled with the expected wacky characters. There is the oblivious white guy (David Arquette), the money hungry pastor (Baron Davis), and an over the top villain (Anthony McKinley). The late Tiny Lister even makes an appearance. Again, the film follows a formula that had been worn out decades ago but is still watchable.

The story follows the expected path. Things start off rough between the fallen champion and his grandson. As the two work together, they both teach each other life lessons. When all is said and done, everyone comes out a better person and the bad people get what they deserve. In its own innocent and sometimes raunchy way, Battle of the Bones wants to show how everyone is alike.

The question becomes whether the jokes can connect with today’s audiences. For the most part, the comedy is timeless. Battle of the Bones is filled with people talking trash to each other, and no matter what era a person is from, “Yo mama” jokes always work. There is also some fun physical humor that works at getting cheap laughs.

In between, there are jokes about racism, homophobia, and police brutality that just do not work as well. The film feels very dated in these moments and out of touch with the real world. There is nothing wrong with a film trying to have fun. An argument can be made there needs to be more of them. Domino: Battle of the Bones is watchable, but it walks a very thin line.

Domino: Battle of the Bones comes to theaters June 11

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