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Paid In Full

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Paid In Full

Starring: Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris
Director: Charles Stone III
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genres: Action, Drama

*Also starring: Cam'ron, Doug E. Fresh, Kevin Carroll, Chi McBride, Elise Neal, Esai Morales, Regina Hall

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

PAID IN FULL is a formulaic film by director Charles Stone III, who brought us the popular "Whassup?" Budweiser commercials. Something of a blend of THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE and SCARFACE, the story is set in a ghetto in Harlem in the mid-1980s.

The local royalty are the drug dealers who flaunt the symbols of power -- big wads of cash, gold chains, fancy cars and Nikes. The central character, Ace (Wood Harris, REMEMBER THE TITANS), ironically was called Lucky when he was little. Now he's a kid -- actually more of a young adult -- about to be seduced by the dark side. He is currently working at one of the few honest establishments, a cleaners -- nice metaphor.

One way that we know that Ace would be worth saving is that, once he has been converted to dealing drugs, he proves to be a real entrepreneur. While most dealers hold out for top dollar, Ace cuts the price of his product in order to dramatically increase the volume and hence the profits.

Filmed in somber, dark tones, the movie is sometimes hard to decipher. The dialog is tougher still, since the ghetto accents and slang are so thick that you may find yourself wishing that the movie had subtitles. Although it's a poignant drama, it's nothing original. If you saw it on TV, you'd probably turn it off, convinced that you had already seen that movie.

PAID IN FULL runs 1:33. It is rated R for "violence, pervasive language, some strong sexuality and drug content" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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