Ace is an impressionable young man working for a dry cleaning business. His friend, drug dealer Mitch goes to prison. In an unrelated incident, he finds some cocaine in a pants pocket. Soon, Ace finds himself dealing cocaine for Lulu. Via lucky breaks and solid interpersonal skills, Ace moves to the top of the Harlem drug world. Of course, unfaithful employees and/or rivals conspire to bring about Ace's fall.
A young man from Harlem, forced to cope with the 1980s drug scene, builds an illegal empire, only to have a crisis of conscience.
This is the story of a soft-hearted drug dealer, as far UP the chain as you can go before you leave the Harlem neighborhood. The NEXT level is the guys, not part of the story, who deliver it in multiples of kilograms, and sell it the Afro-Americans, one community at a time, for breakdown and distribution.
There is one exception to this structure. Early in the film, we meet one super-dealer, played by NYPD-Blue station chief Lt. Tony Rodriguez (2001-2003), Esai Morales. (Morales seems to have gained so much "gravitas" between this film and the TV series you wonder if this film has been in the can for awhile.)
The name you know in the cast is Mikhi Phifer (he plays DR. GREGG PRATT on TV's "ER") but the name you will come away with is Wood Harris. You might have seen him playing third fiddle in REMEMBER THE TITANS (2002), the Denzel Washington feel-good film. Like TITANS, this is another true story, by the way.
The film tries to link itself to SCARFACE (1983) and even goes so far as to have the characters view that film on the big screen when it first came out. Trust me: this is not scarface. It is not Florida, not Cubano. AND ...... The scale of their operation, their life-style, ambitions, family orientation, neighborhood emphasis, and sheer abilities puts them much more on a par with Wesley Snipes NEW JACK CITY (1991).
Realizing that JACK CITY was supposed to portray a dealer who went a little power crazy, I found Snipes' performance over-heated, and didn't enjoy THAT film even the second time around. Wood Harris has a more moderate part to begin with, and he gives a credible performance as an underwhelming street kid who keeps on growing sufficiently to meet the demands of the job. Even though he is ultimately selling death in little glass bottles, you want to like him, want him to prevail over his more hot-headed, flash- and violence-oriented competitors.
"Maintain and stay low", he says. That might have been good advice even for corporate giants like Drexel Burnam and Enron.
But, like all bio-corporate organisms, the rule is, "Grow or Die." Wood's character makes the mistake of reacting the way you or I might in similar circumstances. Harlem is my beat. Harlem is enough. Why do I have to aggrandize, to bloat, to grow ever bigger? Can't I just be top dog on my own turf, he asks.
Rent the film. Find out the answer. F**k U mean! Dis sh8t 100! F**k U mean! Dis sh8t 300! F**k U mean! Dis sh8t 600! F**k U mean! Dis sh8t 900! F**k U mean my review is not long enough? Dis sh8t 900! My nigga A boogie is in da m8thaf**kin building!! GANG GANG GANG GANG GAN GAN GANG GAN GANG GANG GANGA GANG GANG GANG GANG As superficial as his 1999 short film "True," the inspiration for Budweiser's "Whassup?" commercials, Charles Stone III's feature debut is set in a 1986 Harlem that doesn't look much like anywhere in New York. a5c7b9f00b
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