Oct 24, 2001 at 12:00 am

Bones is bad to its ... well, bones.

The legend of Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) is Frankensteined together from pieces ripped off from decades of American pop culture. Jimmy is a poor man’s Superfly turned folk hero: a late-’70s drug dealer in smooth pimp’s clothing diggin’ the scene in his Lincoln Continental gangstaline. When Jimmy refuses to poison his people with the latest thing in the drug demimonde, crack cocaine, the corrupt cop, Lupovitch (Michael T. Weiss), pushing it, literally goes ballistic and puts a bullet in his guts. Lupovitch cops an idea from Murder on the Orient Express to cover his tracks, forcing at gunpoint every witnessing suckah in the room to stab Jimmy, even his homeboy, J-Bird, (Clifton Powell) and his girl, Pearl (Pam Grier). They bury the blade and seal their fate.

Twenty-odd years later, J-Bird is now Jeremiah, a respected pillar of a suburban community complete with a perky, white-bread wife (echoing TV housewives and moms from June Cleaver to Carol Brady) and three kids who end up as a hip-hop version of the Scooby Doo crew. Unknown to Jeremiah, they open up a dance club in Jimmy Bones’ place (virtually Skeletor’s Castle Greyskull from “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” TV cartoon series) and wake the dead. Jimmy pulls a Pinhead move from Hellraiser (1987), his bones gathering flesh and blood, his mind on his murder and murder on his mind.

Shouldn’t a Halloween horror flick shoot to chill? But as cool as Snoop Dogg might be, Bones didn’t give me the shivers. The ghosts of Bones’ crib are haunted-house fake and Bones himself is like an animated, horror waxwork of a ’70s vintage original gangsta. The true horror of Bones is that Ernest Dickerson (Spike Lee’s right-hand cinematographer from his NYU grad school days to Malcolm X) directed this B-movie. His Bones offers slim pickings.

Visit the official Bones Web site at

E-mail James Keith La Croix at [email protected].