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Above the Rim (1994)



Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 30,358

My Rating

Movie Info

A young aspiring professional basketball player must make some tough decisions in this sports melodrama. Kyle Lee is a talented basketball player in high school. While he waits to find out if he will receive a scholarship to Georgetown he finds himself in a difficult dilemma over a playground basketball tournament. He must decide whether to follow his good-hearted coach or Birdie, the local gangster. Kyle is also feeling resentment for the security guard his mother is falling for. The coach also



Jun 1, 2004

New Line Home Entertainment

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (9) | DVD (4)

A fine cast and the movie's general energy can't overcome that mix of cliches and technical flaws.

March 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A formula script, but a mobile camera, pulsing rap soundtrack and a game cast whip up the necessary fizz.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stultifying cliche of a movie -- even by sports-flick standards -- this basketball allegory doesn't get anywhere near the rim.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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The movie lives easily on the streets where it is shot, and the performances -- especially by Martin, Shakur and Pinkins -- are convincing.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It ain't got game.

March 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A superficial and predictable sports drama with an inner-city background, Above the Rim nevertheless offers engaging characters, fast-paced direction, and strong performances.

March 25, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A highly memorable movie

March 23, 2005

When you play with something this formulaic, you're bound to trip upon a theme that has been endlessly explored and agonizingly overdone.

August 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Although well-intentioned, this film is a notch below Blue Chips.

March 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

The actors are very good.

September 19, 2002 Full Review

A very familiar dish, but prepared reasonably well.

July 26, 2002

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Despite obvious weaknesses, however, the film gets a huge boost from several excellent performances.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

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 cliche haha 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, deals, guns and adults trying to get these dumb asses to grow up and get a life.

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 and reminded me a little of 'White Men Can't Jump' minus the comedy.
March 2, 2012

Super Reviewer

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.
May 21, 2011
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

too ghetto, but i actually find tupac to be a fantastic actor
November 23, 2007
danny d

Super Reviewer

Should be a certified classic...
The underworld view of the street ball pick-up /high school or be played!
January 20, 2007

Super Reviewer

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