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I was looking forward to this film..the debut of one of the 3 geniuses of music video who released films this year...Michel Gondry (Human Nature), Kevin Bray (All About the Benjamins) and Charles Stone (Paid In Full). Stone's videos for Public Enemy (911 Is A Joke), The Roots (The Next Movement, You Got Me) and Living Colour (Elvis Is Dead, Funny Vibe) are some of the most vibrant, clever, adventurous and colorful promos to ever be seen, as well as his commercial work and other videos. The answer to why I was so disappointed in Paid In Full's averageness came when I realized that one of the producers was NYU hack Brett Ratner; famous for his generic hits such as Rush Hour as well as his proclamation that "I know what black people want" (in reference to filmmaking and attracting a black audience). Therefore Ratner probably used his clout to smother Stone's genius. The performances and story are fine but it could have been a TV movie. So I'll look for Stone's true genius when Drumline is released later this year.
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
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.
Once again, Wood Harris kills it in another great movie that doesn't get recognized. Such a good actor. This is one of the best Gangster movies ever made. I'd rate this over goodfellas and godfather. The story is very well done. Acting was great. It starts slow and just picks up speed and doesn't stop. This is one of my favorite movies. It's a shame that it wasn't promoted well and got no recognition. From beginning to end, their is nothing bad to say about this movie. Cam'Ron (from the hip hop group Dipset/Diplomats) really impressed me on this one. Each character is cool in his own way and like most hip hop movies, this one has an explosive ending. Unlike most of Wood Harris' movies, they actually put a lot of money into this movie and gave it an actual budget. I was surprised about how good this movie was. Only reason I watched it was because Netflix recommended it to me. It's upsetting that not enough people have even heard of this movie. I can't imagine anyone not liking this
If I had realized that this was a gangster/hip-hop generation flick before I purchased it on pay-per-view, I would have never watched it. But I gave it a chance in an attempt to not waste my money. It was really well done. The acting was believable and in depth and the movie was superbly casted. It kept my attention, kept me involved and was narrated by a character that was likeable and credible. Well-done.
I wrote a review on this film years ago and had to edit it... Still one of my favorite "hood" flicks 10 years later... Based on the true story of the childhood friends: AZ, Alpo and Rich Porter... The fictional names used in the movie Ace Boogie (Wood Harris), Alpo (CamRon) and Mitch (Mekhi Phifer)... I suggest seeing the documentary Game Over or read up on the real life characters to get an idea of what this film really is about. What impressed me so much about this movie is its authenticity with regards to imagery - you look at these infamous photos of the three back in the day and they're accurately replicated in live action in the film, creating a special vivid realism. That coupled with RocAFella production, superb acting, and DJ Brucie B on the score with classics - this movie never gets old. Not to mention the soundtrack bangs... 2 discs - one dedicated to 80s hip hop heard mostly throughout the film, and the other featuring the 2002 RocaFella lineup - that includes what was my first time hearing Kanye rap on the track "Champions" - with Dame Dash boasting... classic hood sh#t.
Very good film underrated no hype surrounding it but tight in the script realism and action. Before viewing the film I had never heard of Wood Harris I was surprised at how good he was in the role. Ably supported by Mekhi Phiffer who has gone on to bigger and better things his name alone was the draw for me watching the film. I was also curious to see how Cam'ron would be plenty of rappers have tried the hand and at acting only a few have been successful. I thought that he did a performed well in the role of an out of control street soldier. The plot ran smoothly all the way through the film and what made a nice change with this film the lead character always understood his limitation which gave the ending a realistic feel. If you have not seen it I suggest you do..
In the 80's, in Harlem, the simple Afro-American worker of a laundry,
Ace (Wood Harris), is seduced by the easy money of his friend Mitch
(Mekhi Phifer) and when Mitch is arrested, he becomes a drug lord.
Later, her joins Mitch and his new-friend Rico (Cam'ron) as his right
arms, ruling the neighborhood. His kingdom is destroyed one year later,
after successive betrayals.
Based on a true story, I found the first part of "Paid in Full", showing the powerful and wealthy drug dealers' lifestyle, an apology to crime. However, the strong plot point really destroys this image, and shows how short are the empire and power of these nasty criminals. Most of their friends and women are bought by their money, and in the end they are only a part in the wheels of crime. Here in Brazil, we have the same situation in the slums: one day, a drug lord dies, on the next day there is another one in his spot. The cast has great performances and the direction of Charles Stone III is amazingly real. "Paid in Full" is highly recommended for fans of films of gangs. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "Ouro Branco" ("White Gold")
I thought this movie was fabulous!
The acting was good all round especially Wood Harris, Mekhi Phifer, Cam'ron and the little boy Remo Greene was pretty good for a kid as well.
The story was fabulous. I loved all the twists it had.
Great directing Charles Stone III!
It was really cool how it cut back and forth from scene to scene.
Interesting to see it was based on a true story.
It's odd I have never heared of this film before. I should definitely be put down in the history books as one of the classic 'hood' movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paid in full is a movie about a good kid from the ghetto who is seduced
into the local drug trade. In the beginning of the movie the main
character Ace is seen as a quite kid from Harlem who works for a local
tailor. Surrounded by the distribution, consumption, and glorification
of drugs. Ace resists the temptation as he sees his friends become
involved, but soon falls victim to his surroundings.
Personally I had no interests in watching this movie. But it seemed like EVERYONE had seen it. (so i finally sat down and watched it) Surprisingly I really liked it. I don't think anyone should follow the path presented in this movie but I do think it can teach lessons. Such as the easy road isn't always best, or not to trust the people around you. Over all its a movie everyone should watch at least once.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is one of my favorite movies. I rated this movie a 10 because I can relate to it. Growing up in Baltimore City you see a lot of activity such as in this movie, and like Ace sometimes you might be tempted to join the negative influences in your surroundings. Ace had a good job, making legal money, working at the cleaners. He always watched the drug dealers with the nice cars, designer clothes, all the girls, and lots of money. One side of him wanted to get money the legal way and work hard for it, although the other side of him wanted to live the lifestyle they lived. Ace wasn't making much at the cleaners, he was making just enough to get buy. While his friend Mitch was the top drug dealer in Harlem. One day all of that changed when Ace found drugs in the pocket of one of the customer's pants at the cleaners. He thought he was doing the right thing which was returning it to the rightful owner. The owner thought he was crazy for returning and insisted that he keep the drugs. Ever since then Ace became the top drug dealer in Harlem, although he had more money than working at the cleaners, he began to have more problems also. This is a great movie to watch. It's relatable and based on a real story which makes it all the more interesting.
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