Jeff Cole (Omar Epps) is a cop just out of the academy who’s thrown into undercover work by his captain (Stanley Tucci). Such is his success, he’s selected to infiltrate the operation of Dwayne Gittens (LL Cool J), Cincinnati’s biggest dealer who moves his crack through the projects. Initially successful, Cole is pulled when a deal goes wrong and is sent to a safe house both for his own safety and to get his head together. Then comes another chance to get back in with Gittens and Cole persuades his superiors to let him have another go…
Australian director Michael Rymer’s film doesn’t have the most original of plots but is lifted by its two stars. Epps is by turn cocksure and scared, forced into acts that go against his nature to preserve his cover while Cool J portrays Gittens as a monster who also has a yearning to be accepted and even loved, lonely through the isolation his power brings and the brisk running time ensures that this tight thriller never outstays its welcome.
USA / 1999
Director: Michael Rymer
Writers: Paul Aaron, Michael Henry Brown
Cast: Omar Epps, LL Cool J, Stanley Tucci, Nia Long, Hill Harper, Pam Grier