Story of a promising high school basketball star and his relationships with two brothers, one a drug dealer and the other a former basketball star fallen on hard times and now employed as a security guard.
Jeff Cole is a recent graduate of the Cincinnati police academy who dreams of working undercover. His wish is granted and through success is given the task of taking down state-wide crack ... See full summary »
The film is "serious" and well intentioned, telling a heart-breaking story with a valid message.
Though the film is "serious" and well intentioned, telling a heart-breaking story with a valid message, its impact is considerably weakened by a naïve story-line and a undistinguished screen-play. I hunted around to see if this was "based on a true story", like "The Birdman of Alcatraz", but I found no evidence; that might have excused some of the awkwardness. There are some movingly warm scenes, though I was never groping for a kleenex. It reminded me of one of those Worthy Westerns I watched as a kid, where the bad guy meets a good guy/woman who changes his life: it had too many predictable and not totally credible steps. When, at the end, the hoodlum about to shoot him says, "Prison sure turned you stoopid!", I was inclined to agree. He talked his way out of the jam, but only because the narrative demanded it: his speech would never have convinced me, any more than Eli's words in the prison cell would have made me turn over a new leaf. These key "speeches" lacked any eloquence, and I frequently found myself predicting the dialogue. Nevertheless its best moments, especially the confrontations, are really gripping - until the end, that is, when it's too easy to foresee that no harm will come to anyone and Good will prevail. It's unfashionable and courageous to give such a story a happy ending (cf. "La Haine", where the vicious circle of hate is NOT broken and a bleak future is foreseen), and perhaps its optimism speaks more deeply to audiences in the States.
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