15 October 2003 | bob the moo
Like Deep Cover not as good but a bit more hip and pretty good
Starting out his undercover career with small scale drug busts, Jef Cole is soon enlisted to go after the main dealer, known locally as God. When he gets in too deep and kills a dealer who moves up on him, Jeff is sent away to a remote spot to recover. When a chance meeting with a FBI agent reveals that no other officer has got close to God since then, Jeff offers to go back under but can he avoid going native?
I taped this simply because of the cast and I must admit I didn't expect much from it. I knew from the plot summary that it was going to be a version of Deep Cover, but with more rappers! However I did actually quite enjoy it. The plot, while not original, is actually pretty good fun to watch. The only thing that slowed it down was the seemingly pointless addition of the romance subplot which took the wind out of the film without adding anything to it. The main plot though is quite energetic and exciting the question of whether Jeff will go `in too deep' or not is pretty moot simply due to the nature of the film but it is still good.
Although in many films, rappers stand out as giving poor cameos etc, here they all do well. In fact the soundtrack is a good mix of hip hop all used to good effect. The opening credits are stylishly shot and the director does a pretty good job of mixing a gritty street feel with some stylish flourishes. The film feels very polished and professional rather the sort of cheap rubbish that many predominately-rapper cast films have been in the past few years.
Speaking of cast, Epps does a good job as a leading man, he is a solid black actor who could be somewhere between Washington and Snipes in terms of abilities and genre. LL Cool J does a good job, enjoying himself playing a bad guy. He is actually quite a good actor simply because he picks projects that don't stretch his abilities. Long is a beautiful woman but is wasted in a pointless role here she is worthy of more. Support cast includes a long line of rappers & cameos etc who do reasonable jobs Sticky Fingaz is perfect in this type of role (albeit perpetuating a stereotype) and other faces include Pam Grier, Nas, Dupri and Mya.
Overall this is a surprisingly enjoyable film that is criminally underwatched. While not original it is solidly good fun and well made with the cast giving enjoyable performances.