5.3/10
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9 user 10 critic

Once in the Life (2000)

Street hustler Mike cooks up a drug rip-off with his estranged half-brother Torch. Simple robbery turns fatal bloodbath, so they hide out in a claustrophobic rat hole waiting for Mike's buddy Tony, who's "out of the life," or so he says.

Director:

Laurence Fishburne

Writers:

Laurence Fishburne (play), Laurence Fishburne (screenplay)

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eamonn Walker ... Tony
Gregory Hines ... Ruffhouse
Michael Paul Chan ... Buddha
Dominic Chianese Jr. ... Freddie Nine Lives
Tiger Hu Chen ... Chino (as Tiger Chen)
Paul Calderon ... Manny Rivera
Andres Titus Andres Titus ... Hector (as Andres 'Dres' Titus)
Titus Welliver ... Torch
Laurence Fishburne ... 20 / 20 Mike
Harsh Nayyar ... Cab Driver
Sue Costello ... Sgt. Kneeley
Nick Chinlund ... Mike Murphy
Timothy W. White Timothy W. White ... Little Billy (as Tim White)
Wanda De Jesus ... Jackie
Justin Pierre Edmund ... Little Mikey
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Storyline

Once in the life (of drug dealing and organized crime), can anyone get out? During a brief jail stay, two half-brothers, who have rarely seen each other while growing up, connect. One of them, called 20/20 Mike because he can sense people nearby, concocts a scheme in which the two of them will steal some dope from young couriers. The heist goes awry when Billy, the junkie brother, shoots the victims of the theft. The brothers hole up in an abandoned building, and 20/20 Mike seeks help from an old cell mate, Tony, whom he thinks is out of the life. It turns out that they have stolen Tony's dope, and Tony's boss wants the two thieves dead. Is there any way out? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're either in, or you're gone.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive languge, strong violence and some drug content | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

20/20 Target Criminale See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,358, 29 October 2000

Gross USA:

$54,780

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$54,780
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tiger Hu Chen later co-starred as part of the stunts team in The Matrix trilogy with Laurence Fishburne. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Misfire: The Rise and Fall of the Shooting Gallery (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Fearless Misery
Written by William DuVall and Vernon Reid
Performed by William DuVall feat. Vernon Reid
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very Poetic, Emotional, and Intense night time film
18 January 2005 | by uieaeooSee all my reviews

If you loved Deep Cover, you might like this film as well. Many of the poetic interludes Fishburne recites in Deep Cover are from the lyrical script of "Once In the Life," a screen adaptation of a play that Fishburne wrote. If you love Larry as much as I do, you'll love this film that is all Larry, all hot, and all fleshed out. Of course there is gun play and illicit substance use, this is a gangster movie of sorts, after all, but the script is beautiful and the story is touching, even a little on the chick flick side.

AMAZING film...dark, frightening, sexy, and exciting. If you ever sneaked out at night or hung out in a clubhouse, you'll get the proper impact of the cramped sets (metephorically echoing being trapped in the life). Full of clever foreshadowing and complex relationships, this film is tight..every sentiment mirrored in the set dressing and camera shots. GOOD WORK!


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