Above the Rim


Above the Rim

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 19


Audience Score

User Ratings: 30,675
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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 wants the guard to play, but due to the tragic death of a friend, the guard cannot bear the thought of playing again.


Duane Martin
as Kyle-Lee
as Shep
David Bailey
as Rollins
Eric Nies
as Montrose
Cinnamon Paige
as Young Woman
Debra Rubins
as Hostess
Robert Harvey
as Official
as Referee
Darien Berry
as Younger Player
Lakeesha E. Allen
as Monarch Cheerleader
Sherrese Clark
as Monarch Cheerleader
Annie Charles
as Monarch Cheerleader
Aspen Davis
as Monarch Cheerleader
Charlene Levi
as Monarch Cheerleader
Tameeka McKinney
as Monarch Cheerleader
Dannell G. Ruiz
as Monarch Cheerleader
Leslie Terrero
as Monarch Cheerleader
Kenneth Bantun
as Basketball Player
Howard Bond
as Basketball Player
Troy Bowers
as Basketball Player
Roger Brooks
as Basketball Player
Dorian Graham
as Basketball Player
Marion Jenkins
as Basketball Player
Gil K. Kimble Jr.
as Basketball Player
Shabar Lassen
as Basketball Player
Troy Trusdale
as Basketball Player
Tracey Walston
as Basketball Player
Sam Worthen
as Basketball Player
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Critic Reviews for Above the Rim

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

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

    Mar 25, 2008

    Brian Lowry

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

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top 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 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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
  • A stultifying cliche of a movie -- even by sports-flick standards -- this basketball allegory doesn't get anywhere near the rim.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • The movie lives easily on the streets where it is shot, and the performances -- especially by Martin, Shakur and Pinkins -- are convincing.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Above the Rim

  • Jan 31, 2011
    Pretty good. Great music I love how they followed 2 stories.but the end was pretty predictable and it probably wouldn't be poepular without tupac
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2011
    Tupac was good in this film as usual but I just hated Above The Rim.I liked all of Tupac's movies except for this 1 & Poetic Justice.The only good thing I can think of to say about this movie is that Tupac was in it & Bernie Mac was good as Flip
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2010
    Shep: It's time you and me played. Not your typical sports flick as it has much more elements like the racial struggle. It's a good story about talent being corrupted by the street game, nicely directed good performances. A realistic look at the life in the urban neighborhoods. About an up and coming basketball player that must resist the temptation of dirty money, easy women and violence. The basketball scenes in this are pretty fantastic for the pure basketball fans. I mean a real basketball player can tell when someone is playing or pretending to play and this movie did a pretty good job on that element. It also showcases Tupac's acting abilities with his various confrontations with his characters estranged older brother. An overall good movie to watch. The cast was perfect, especially for the time of it's release. It was a movie set in the East Coast, but Tupac was a stand out star, and the entire soundtrack was done by Death Row. Shakur gave a great performance through out, along with Dwayne Martin. Leon was also featured in another film celebrated by the black community more than anywhere else, The Five Heartbeats. Not to mention Marlon Wayans doing what he always does. Wood Harris, who later goes on to "The Wire" fame, portrays a very aggressive character. The comedic legend Bernie Mac is featured in a good role also. I know that movies aren't black or white. They are just movies, but it is evident that there are a slew of movies that are celebrated a lot more in the black community than anywhere else. Menace II Society, Juice, New Jersey Drive, Above the Rim, Belly, Paid in Full, and this film are "Hood" classics. If you want to even begin to understand the logic behind some of the themes of this genre, then this is a very good movie to start with. 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.
    Sergio E Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2010
    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.
    Manu G Super Reviewer

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