I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, and I was impressed. As I have been telling my friends: it's a very good movie, but not a great movie. I have found the dominant theme to be a salient one. There is a great scene in the movie where the main character's father is going to be executed. As he stands before his son, prepared for death, he delivers the following line with a look that doesn't contain a hint of fear: "My son, do not be afraid."
I think what Melly Mel is trying to illustrate in this movie is that courage is the antidote to the decay of culture. There are some great father-son talks where fear is described as a poison, destroying everything it touches. Even when it seems that fear is justified, it is to be brooked no quarter.
It reminds me of a story that is told about St. Francis. One of the brothers was seeing a vision of the Devil, who was appearing as St. Francis and telling him what a waste all his penances were. The Devil would assure this brother that despite any of his efforts, he was doomed to Hell. This brother eventually told Francis about these visions, after struggling with a fear of the saint himself. When Francis heard it he told the brother, "If you see him again, tell him 'I shit in your mouth.'" Basically, "Fuck off," in the parlance of 13th-century Italy.
The saint understood that the only response to fear was "fuck off". This corrosive force will dissolve your whole life. It will try to put you up against a wall. It may leave you for years powerless and unwilling to change. It may leave you in a cage that grows comfortable as the years pass on.
Remember: "fuck off".