Above the rim is above the rest
YOSUNNYJOE | New York, New York | 04/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the Passing of Actor, Rapper, Tu Pac Shakur we may never know how great his acting could have gotten. In this 1994 memorable performance he puts in a chemistry that connects well to his story.This movie may have one of the simplest storylines about basketball honor but it is really a metaphor for deeper issues. Kyle played well by Duayne Martin is a high school basketball great who needs more coaching than his coach can handle because most of his needs are off the court. Shep (Leon) is a former high school great who never made the big leagues beacause he was accused of killing his brother during a one on one game on a roof. Shep taunted his brother for not being near the player he was but obviously never intended manslaughter. The interesting piece is that Shep has a mental block and cannot move past this incident. He even seems to be in severe depression. Kyle needs coaching and Shep needs to be needed. Seems simple. Not so fast! In comes Birdie played by Tu Pac who is livid when his living big brother Shep returns to bury their dead mother and wants no part of his underworld ways. Birdies influence is more effective on Kyle than Shep, But that's about to change! Good perfomances by Marlon Waynans, Kyles friend Bugaloo and Bernie Mac the bumb in the park, Flip. Good Soundtrack. The movie moves fast but keys in on more than just jumpers and foul shots. This is not a movie about basketball rather a basketball movie about people with zeal, integrity, emptiness and anti social behavior. Some characters have more than one trait. Some have more than one flaw. While watching this one you'll want to see where everyone ends up."
Choices and Consequences...
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 09/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Above the Rim" is an entertaining street drama that focuses around Kyle Lee Watson, an inner-city high school basketball player who shows a lot of promise but lets his own arrogance get the best of him. He won't listen to anybody who offers him advice on how to improve his game, as he thinks that he is the best player ever. He's been hoping that his mad skills are catching a college scout's attention, but he does catch Birdie's eyes when he plays. Birdie is a well known gang leader who offers Kyle the good life so long as he plays on his neighborhood team in a "Shoot-Out" basketball contest that means the world to him. Kyle--being impatient as ever--agrees to join, not seeing the clear danger that is in front of him. A high school security guard with a past knows the danger that Birdie presents, and he is the only who has a chance to get through to Kyle before it is too late.
Not only is this a very good basketball movie, but it is also an intense and character-driven drama centered around the choices that we make in life... and how we have to live with them in the long run. The film has some great performances from Duane Martin, Marlon Wayans and the late Tupac Shakur. Even though everybody is great in their roles, the showstopper is indeed Shakur. He gives a very masterful performance that really sticks out and will stay with you long after the movie is over. My only complaint is the length of the movie. It's true that a movie that runs a little over an hour and a half isn't short, but I think the story and the characters open more possibilities to add on to the movie. I think more opportunities and risks could have been taken to further enrich the story. Still, it is a really good movie that didn't disappoint me.
The DVD doesn't have a whole lot to offer. You can either watch the movie in widescreen or in fullscreen, depending on your preference. The movie looks and sounds very good. The only special features that are offered are movie trailers, and those aren't even that great. I would've loved it if they included the music video, "Regulate" by Warren G and Nate Dogg. In fact, given some of the great rap songs that are in this movie, they could've included a couple of music videos. It's not a great DVD, but at least it's not that expensive.
I really enjoyed "Above the Rim." It may not be flawless, but it definitely does more right than wrong. The characters are what really dominate the movie. Even if you're not a fan of the game, it's still something to check out if you're a fan of character drama. Exciting, intense, conflict-driven and full of heart, "Above the Rim" is a very well done film. -Michael Crane"
ABOVE THE RIM Review
Crazy Jim | Massachusetts | 11/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Playing like a big-screen version of MTV's "Rock N' Jock Basketball", ABOVE THE RIM is more flare than substance but that isn't neccessarily a bad thing. Not every urban film needs to provide the harsh narrative morals of films like "Boyz N The Hood". Those expecting a pull-no-punches commentary on young inner-city athletes may want to stick with "He Got Game". "Rim" has heart though. It's predictable and cliche at times but it's still a lot of fun. Having one of the very best soundtracks of the year didn't hurt things either. "Rim" follows Kyle Waston, one of the hottest high school basketball prospects as he must choose between playing for his overbearing coach or a charismatic local drug dealer in a tournament for city bragging rights. Along the way we learn that the devilish drug pusher is the younger brother of the school's security guard, a former high school star himself who fell from grace after a fatal accident involving one of his friends. Kyle is so manipulated by the money and women being thrown in his direction that he doesn't see that he may be flushing his opportunity down the toilet."Above The Rim", much like "Juice" gains so much credibilty from the presence of Tupac Shakur. Pac takes what is in all honesty, a silly and very sterotypical villian and makes him seem so much more. Very few people have the energy and charisma to make it work but he does. The cast certainly holds up their end though as well. Unlike "Juice", the movie can survive without Pac on the screen. Wayans as the goofy Buggalo is a nice touch and Martin and Leon are solid leads. ABTR is an entertaining film but it plays more like a "very special episode" of FRESH PRINCE than the urban equivallent of HOOSIERS that so many of its fans tend to label it as. The story is very paint-by-numbers and most of the dramatic elements are thrown in for advancement of the story rather than based on a concious decision to show the true consequences of its protaginist's choices. The script is simple and seems to pander to the audience far too much. Much like a TV show, there is conflict but by the end of it all, every character learns a valuable lesson."
Hot Baller Joint
White Boy Gone Wrong | Brooklyn, NY | 04/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Above the Rim is probably the best basketball movie there is. This movie aint like Hoosiers. It has tons of street ball and action. My man 2pac stars in this movie as Birdie, a drug dealer who tries to get a talented high school player named Kyle(Duane Martin) involved in his business and play for their team in a tournament. Kyle has to decide what is best for his future but Birdie and his gang pressure him to join. The basketball scenes are crazy and the music is one the parts that stands out. The theme song played throughout the movie ("Pain" by 2pac) is still one of my favorite songs even though it is almost ten years old. This movie on DVD has the trailer and you can watch it in widescreen. Overall, its better than the VHS. If you havent seen this movie yet then buy it QUICK. R.I.P. 2pac"