GHoSTMuT | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wood Harris, Mekhi Phifer and Cam`Ron brought eighties back to life for me in this film. This film is almost like watching a documentary. I was sixteen in 86 and living in Harlem. I remember cell phones the size of bricks and beepers with no read outs. This was the age when only doctors and drug dealers carried beepers. I remember when "The Rooftop" was Harlem's hottest club. And if you had the dough Dapper Dan could make you a Gucci or Lois Vuiton jacket or suit. When Timbs were strictly an "uptown" thing. You could go to the club or "The Pro Rucker" (a famous harlem B-ball court where summer league games were held), and see these cats upclose and in person. Ghetto superstars Alpo (Rico), Richie Rich (Mitch) and yes the likable character AZ (Ace). Now remember im only sixteen broke and working at Mickey D's. So I don't know the story behind the glam. Just what I see and ofcourse the ghetto gossip. I say gossip because in the hood by the time the story reaches you, "he had a 38" some how manifests itself into "he had two chrome UZI's". I also remember the late model European whips. The truck jewelry and the wads of cash these dudes carried around as pocket change. I went to school with Alpo's lil sista. She had a gucci bag for every day of the week and wore a mink coat in the winter. It was crazy. In the Seventies Harlem belonged to Nicky Barnes. The eighties belonged to Alpo (Rico), Richie Rich (Mitch) and AZ (Ace). In closing, this movie isn't quite "Scarface". But a great gangster flick none the less, based on a true story as told by AZ."
The Fullest Extent of Urban Life
Latanya Collins | Queens, NY | 05/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can understand many of the bad reviews that I have read surrounding this film. Many have refered to this movie as a typical hood film and it is; but, at a level that captures the realm of economic prosperity (due to the crack-cocaine epidemic) that saturated ghettos everywhere. Unlike New Jack City, it was more realistic. It opened the project doors and windows for America to see.
It was based upon a true story, and presented cameo of each of the 3 actual hustlers (drug-dealers)that conquered Harlem in the mid 80's. Excellent film.
In order to really be able to appreicate the film at a height, I think that it is beneficial to have some knowledge of that time period ... and maybe even some knowledge of the hood."
The American dream, their way
Samario C. Oliver | VA | 04/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The one thing I appriciate about this movie, is it's feel to realisim, and the feel of old harlem hood movies. It's not another State Property, Baby Boy or some horsecrap gangsta movie.
This movie is about Ace(Wood Harris) and his best friend Mitch(Mekhi Phifer) who get good buisness going out, but Mitch is put behind bars when he tries to get a nusience off his block. So Ace makes his move, and makes everyone happy becoming the top dog around.
But in the world of Harlem drug dealers, there's always a load of backstabbing snakes filled with envy. They try to get their way by kidnapping, jacking, and murder. And this movie tells that in a very balievable way.
This movie is highly underratted, and should be seen by everyone in the intrest of hood, or gang movies. Even Cam'ron's preformance is nice too. This movie delievers with actors who can act, and not crap like State Property run by rappers.
Personal, True Account of the Gangsta Life
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 04/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ace (Wood Harris) is a young man working in a dry cleaners in 1985 Harlem. His friend Mitch (Mekhi Phifer) sells cocaine, drives flashy cars, and has cash to burn. When Mitch goes to prison and a couple of coincidences leave Ace with a ball of cocaine in his pocket and customers waiting to buy, Ace decides to enter the drug-dealing business that he had previously shunned. He quickly rises to prominence as the cocaine kingpin of Harlem. When Mitch is released from prison, Ace brings him into the business as a partner, along with Mitch's volatile acquaintance from prison, Rico (Cam'ron). When violence erupts, Ace begins to question whether the money that his cocaine business has provided him is worth its cost.At first look, Paid In Full seems to retread a lot of territory that has already been covered in a slew of films about inner-city drug-dealing since the 1980's. There are a couple of things that set this film apart, however, and make it worth seeing. This film emphasizes the characters' development and inner struggles more, and the trappings of the gangsta lifestyle less, than most films on the same topic. And Paid In Full is based on a true story: the story of AZ, Rich Porter, and Alpo, three young men who controlled the cocaine trade in Harlem in the mid-1980's. (Called Ace, Mitch, and Rico, respectively, in the film.) Azie Faison, who was AZ back then, cooperated with the film and wrote an early version of the screenplay. He has since criticized the film for glamorizing the gangsta lifestyle too much and not being a strong enough cautionary tale. I don't find that Paid In Full glamorizes the lifestyle all that much, but its criticism of gangsta life is not heavy-handed either. Perhaps it is better that the film did not moralize as much as it could have because that tends to alienate the audience. You will have to see it and judge for yourself.The film's faults are more annoying than serious. I found it slow in parts. And there is a lot of carelessness with accuracy. The film states at the outset that it takes place in 1985-1986. But the Saab sports cars that the drug dealers are so fond of driving are not 1980's models. And someone talks on a cell phone in one scene -a little, modern cell phone, not a huge 1980's model. First-time feature film director Charles Stone should try hard to avoid this sort of sloppiness in the future, as it can ruin a perfectly good movie.I recommend Paid In Full for its realistic depiction of a particular lifestyle -and its consequences- in a particular time and place in American History. It is especially interesting because the events are seen through the eyes of someone who actually lived them."