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Changing the Game (2012)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 11 May 2012 (USA)
1:25 | Trailer

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An epic tale about a supremely intelligent young African-American male who rises from the ferocious and oppressive streets of North Philadelphia to being a shining star in the lucrative ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jakobi Alvin ...
Young Darrell Barnes (as JaKobi Alvin)
Mrs. Davis
Thomas Staten ...
Young Andre 'Dre' Newell
Karen Issac ...
Ms. Brown
Summer Valentine ...
Grandma Barnes
Dre as an Adult (as Dennis LA White)
Darrell as an Adult
Shannon Dorsey ...
Curtis the Diabolical / FBI Agent
Kendia Jones ...
Reba Jones (as Kendia R. Jones)
Ernest Butts ...
Craig (as Kirk 'Sticky Fingaz' Jones)
Marty Levine


An epic tale about a supremely intelligent young African-American male who rises from the ferocious and oppressive streets of North Philadelphia to being a shining star in the lucrative world of high finance at Wall Street's most prestigious firm. However, he soon finds that the white-collar world is filled with crime and death just like the drug-filled hood he left behind. His only chance of survival is to fully integrate a mysterious gift from a slain childhood friend fully into the fabric of his character. Written by Rel Dowdell

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grandmother as mother | See All (1) »


When the game changes, so does everything you thought you had seen.


Action | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some drug content, sexuality/nudity and violence




Release Date:

11 May 2012 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Curtis the Diabolical: At least ya saw the face of the devil before you died.
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User Reviews

An intellectually entertaining plot twister...
13 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the major keys to a great film, is a solid story directed by an able hand, since if the plot is delivered adequately the viewer is almost able to visualize internally without a screen. Fortunately in the case of the Rel Dowdell directed film, "Changing the Game," the viewer is granted the benefit of a well crafted screenplay (Rel Dowdell & Arron R. Astillero), delivered by an able cast, captured with entrancingly and captivating visuals, which echo back to such early independent classic black films as Larry Cohen's "Black Caesar" and Ivan Dixon's "The Spook Who Sat By the Door."

"Right now I'm on my way to your trough to eat your breakfast, since you don't have sense enough to eat it yourself." Templeton

Set in the colorful yet gritty North Philadelphia backdrop, Changing the Game begins with a young Darrell Barnes (Jakobi Alvin), adeptly reading the above quote from E.B. White's children's classic "Charlotte's Web" in front of his mildly attentive elementary class, while doting instructor Mrs. Davis (Suzanne Douglas) looks on admiringly. It is Mrs. Davis interest in Darrell's background, added with her compliment heavy motivation, which gives the sense that she was integral in shaping Darrell's early academic aspirations. Forward to the drug infused, crime ridden mid 1980s, Darrell (Sean Riggs) is now an accomplished and intelligent high school senior with intentions of attending college for business. It is at these formative beginnings, where Barnes's life and death circumstances and personality shaping people, such as his shrewdly tactical, highly ambitious, long time friend and street hustler Dre (Dennis L.A. White) as well as his morally influential and religiously devout guardian Grandma Barnes (legendary Irma P Hall), begin to give the viewer a more concise image of the potentially multi dimensional character Darrell may truly be.

I do not wish to give many of the plot details due to the fact that Changing the Game is a film that must be watched carefully in order to understand the nuances and depth of Darrell's and his surrounding character's roles in the story-line. I will only share that this is a not the typical cliché shoot em up, hood tragedy flick. Not only does it subtly touch upon the struggles and ills of a desperate impoverished ethnic community, it also ventures off into the social and political dynamic of higher learning institutions, the typically white male dominated American corporate boardroom and the more ethnically and culturally diverse international business environment. There is an interweaving of classical literature such as Machiavelli's "The Prince," which only embellish and compliment an already intriguing story about a not so common man, facing all too familiar circumstances with an intelligently creative and militarily calculated ambition. Those aforementioned qualities alone have made this a film that must be watched more than once to gain full appreciation of how dynamic Darrell Barnes' character is. 8/10

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