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By Michael Dequina | March 13, 2001

HOLLYWOOD BLACK FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! By basic description, a prison potboiler produced by and co-starring Master P doesn’t exactly set the expectations soaring, so the extent to which this film does work comes as a bit of a shock. Most of the credit goes to actor Richard T. Jones, best recognized for his co-starring roles in “The”Wood” and the television series “Judging”Amy”. In his first leading role, Jones displays great charisma and promise as Avery, a talented young swimmer whose hopes for collegiate glory are quickly dashed when he and his less-honorable friends Cashmere (Gabriel Casseus) and Dre (De’Aundre Bonds) are incarcerated for a crime they did not commit.
Writer Preston A. Whitmore II’s and director John Luessenhop go through the familar motions, putting these three men in precarious situations that test their loyalties to each other and their strength of character: Cashmere quickly falls under the wing of the prison’s chief goods smuggler (Master P); Avery does his best to stay out of trouble per the guidance of his older, wiser cellmate (Clifton Powell); and Dre, the youngest of the bunch, is confronted by both physical and psychological abuse. The story never surprises, and the extreme brutality would have been shocking if it weren’t so completely expected. But there’s no denying this piece of pulp fiction’s watchability, which can be directly attributed to the able cast: Casseus, Bill Nunn (as a college athletics recruiter), Melissa DeSousa (as Avery’s girlfriend), and most of all Jones. Here’s hoping he’ll get a chance to display his chops in a real movie sometime.

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