Above the Rim (1994)
A high-school basketball player is torn between two teams: his courtmates at school and a street team controled by a drug dealer.
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Critic Reviews for Above the Rim
A fine cast and the movie's general energy can't overcome that mix of cliches and technical flaws.
A formula script, but a mobile camera, pulsing rap soundtrack and a game cast whip up the necessary fizz.
Above the Rim has its formulaic elements, but it has been vigorously directed by Jeff Pollack, who appreciates the lively and unpretentious aspects of the story.
It's Shakur who steals the show. The rapper's offscreen legal problems are well known, but there's no denying his power as an actor.
A stultifying cliche of a movie -- even by sports-flick standards -- this basketball allegory doesn't get anywhere near the rim.
The movie lives easily on the streets where it is shot, and the performances -- especially by Martin, Shakur and Pinkins -- are convincing.
A superficial and predictable sports drama with an inner-city background, Above the Rim nevertheless offers engaging characters, fast-paced direction, and strong performances.
A highly memorable movie
When you play with something this formulaic, you're bound to trip upon a theme that has been endlessly explored and agonizingly overdone.
A very familiar dish, but prepared reasonably well.
The whole thing is mired in a slow-footed sea of pedantic blather. Heavy-handed explanations are given left and right, and you wish they'd all just shut up and play the game.
Audience Reviews for Above the Rim
Very cliched and dated gangster/basketball flick set in NY as a young black teen tries to get a basketball scholarship whilst battling against a local thug and his former basketball star brother who is now a security guard at their high school.
Everyone in this film is a walking cliche. Shakur is yet another gangster (he couldn't do anything else...useless), Wayans is annoying and camp as usual, Duane Martin is the annoying loud mouth cocky star player and Leon is the quiet dark horse and probably the best thing in the film.
Basically you have all the usual gangster nonsense with all the hilariously bad street clothes worn by Shakur and co. Lots of foul language dodgy deals guns drugs and various adults trying to get these dumb asses to grow up and get a life.
Looking back now this movie does seem extremely predictable cheesy and stereotypical, hell the movie is virtually racially profiling these guys from the outset. Thing is back in the day these movies were popular and deemed fresh gritty realistic stories from the hood, showing the middle/rich classes life on the street and how blacks youths were badly treated.
To me these movies only tended to damage minority groups, giving young blacks a bad reputation. Sure its only a movie but there were so many like this back in the 90's and most revolved around crime drugs and shootings. But hey that's just my thoughts, maybe I'm a bit out of touch too.
The only decent thing in the whole film is the small segments of basketball and the competition at the finale which does show some good genuine skills. Only at the end does this movie really come alive...and it reminded me a little of 'White Men Can't Jump' minus the goofy comedy.
The Hardest Part Of Winning Is Choosing Sides.
Saw it again! One of the best basketball movies you will ever see. The story is superb and the basketball moves are spot on, no fakes here, this is as real as it is. Great cast and the acting was very strong and realistic.
Story of Kyle-Lee Watson, a promising high school basketball star, and his relationships with Birdie, a powerful drug dealer, and Birdie's brother, Thomas 'Shep' Sheppard, himself once a promising high school star at Kyle's school, now employed as a security guard.
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