"In Too Deep"
Directed by Michael Rymer.
Written by Michael Henry Brown and Paul Aaron.
Starring Omar Epps and LL Cool J.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 8/25/99
Let's cut right to it: "In Too Deep" stars
Omar Epps as a Cincinnati cop that tries to infiltrate a
drug-running gang of thugs led by a guy who actually calls himself
God--LL Cool J! That's right: Ladies Love Cool James as a
murderous crack dealer! After playing the chef in
"Deep Blue Sea",
Hollywood's next Will Smith is back again.
Now, here's my big beef with this movie, and
maybe you can help me out here: is there only one way to do an
undercover cop movie? "Kickass" Simon and I did some talking after
the movie was over, and we decided that "Deep Cover", with Larry
Fishburne (before the Laurence days) and Jeff Goldblum, was one of
our favorites. "Donnie Brasco" was also thrown in for good
measure. But even these two classics have all of the same
undercover clichés: brooding wife/girlfriend that is afraid that
one day, they are going to read about their sig other in the
newspaper; scenes of temporary insanity on behalf of the cop, who is
so into character that they are having a hard time differentiating
between good and evil; the sergeant on the squad who is the cop's
primary contact saying "We've got to get you outta there--you're in
too deep!"; and of course, incessant amounts of important--and, for
that matter, non-important--characters saying to the cop:
"Are you a cop?"
This is the funniest bit to me, because it
doesn't matter how many movies I've seen, or how I envision being
undercover and having someone ask me, "Are you a cop?"--it's all the
same: I don't buy it for a second. And there are so many colorful
iterations to it:
"What are you, some kinda cop?"
"Hey, is he 5-oh?"
"Shit man, he smells like a cop to me!"
"You look kind of nervous, man...are you
But, maybe that's how it really is, and I
need to go undercover one of these days.
PSST....THE MOVIE, MAN!
Sorry. The movie is pretty
middle-of-the-road, but Epps redeems himself here after lounging
through "The Mod Squad" by really getting into some seriously
run-of-the-mill material. And somebody in the production decided
that it would be good if Epps had a really bad 'do for half the
film, which brought out laughs from many of the people in the
audience. And LL: I think his character's biggest problem is that
he looks so good. I admit that LL looks pretty smooth here, but
that works against him when he is using a pool cue to...umm, maybe I
won't mention that here. Basically, he has to beat the hell out of
some people in this movie, and watching the guy who did "Doin' It"
throw guys across a car doesn't gibe. He *smiles* too much for a
guy who runs 80% of the drug trade in Cincinnati. Nia Long is
mostly wasted here as Epps' model/dancer/girlfriend (ex: "Two
people can be in love with each other, but that doesn't mean they
will spend their life together", "I don't date people in my nude
modeling class" and similar such rubbish) and Stanley Tucci shows
roughly one emotion as the emotionless contact for Epps throughout
the movie. Pam Grier, clearly not enjoying the post-"Jackie Brown"
scripts that she has been offered, shows up for an
almost-meaningless part here. But, in the casting move of the year,
Jermaine Dupri gets totally f----- up in a fight scene. Man, do I
Hmm. While it was a good time, I realized
after the movie was over that "In Too Deep" was only half full. I
had higher expectations, but it did a reasonable job of
entertaining. And, the music's good.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard