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David Michael O'Neill
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In BACK IN THE DAY, Reggie Cooper, a young man from the rough side of the tracks who lives with his divorced, affluent father in order to avoid the gang activity that almost claimed his teenage life in his mother's neighborhood. When Reggie reconnects with a recently paroled friend from his past, he slips back into a life of crime with fatal consequences. Reggie becomes involved in the murder of a local preacher and in the aftermath of this crime, he falls in love with the preacher's daughter. Ultimately, he must choose between losing everything he cares about and his lifelong loyalty to his oldest friend. BACK IN THE DAY chronicles the powerful story of one man's search for personal redemption. Written by
"Back in the Day" is an interesting, but flawed effort. Ja Rule stars as Reggie Cooper, a honest but sad man trying to cope with the death of his father. He meets his old friend J-Bone (Ving Rhames) who tries to force Reggie into a life of crime. Reggie also falls in love with Alica (Tatyana Ali) who is the preacher's daughter. Now he has to choose: Love Or Crime.
Ja Rule does a competent job as Reggie. At least he's trying to act. Ving Rhames is perfect as J-Bone. He brings a lot of energy and menace into the role. Joe Morton as the preacher is his usual excellent self, but he doesn't do much. The same problem for Giancarlo Esposito as Reggie's Dad. He needed more screen time. I don't want to say this, but Pam Grier is pretty awful as Mrs. Cooper. She overacts every scene and brings the movie down. Tia Carrere and Frank Langella are in it but don't do anything substantial for the plot.
In the end: You should see it for the skilled performances of Ving Rhames and Joe Morton and the grittiness of the writing and directing.
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