Thursday, August 7, 2014

Deep Cover (1992) Review:

Urban crime and the politics that drive it is never a good mix. Nor are they the easiest of situations for an individual to get out of clean free.  It's amazing though to how at the flick of a switch a decision can change the entire game plan. Taking down crime is a tough issue too. It's astonishing to how difficult it is to make a difference. When it comes to this particular realization, for some it takes all of a day, while others believe in one thing and later on discover they should've listened to their instinct. It's sad because it squanders people who could potentially do something better in the future. Laurence Fishburne plays a character somewhat like this.

This was Fishburne before that really him?!
Here, we see Russell Stevens (Larry Fishburne, as he was called back then) as a much leaner and fast paced officer of the law who looked to make a difference in society. The reason behind this - his father was a drug addict and witnessed his death. So in order to never become what his father was, he joins the force headed by the questionable Carver (Charles Martin Smith) for having a mentality that feels racist without publicly stating it. What Carver ends up having Stevens do is pose as a drug dealer so he can get inside the lead crime circle founded by a man named Gallegos. The interesting part of this story element is that Stevens is doing exactly what he'd hoped he never get close to. His motivations are clear but his judgement is clouded.

Perhaps the only thing that's confusing about Fishburne's performance is that with the optimistic outlook that he carries, is barely portrayed with the proper emotion. Most of the time he plays it straight face, with an occasional tone raises here and there. A problem that does arise in the writing is the numerous characters that have little significance to the plot. As for the characters that do have significance, they on the other hand are developed to that of mediocrity. Victoria Dillard plays Betty, some exotic mask seller who also works in the drug ring, I guess. She also has no background or motivation. She also has a thing for Stevens, what a surprise. Then there's Jeff Goldblum who plays a happily married father who also works in the drug ring and sleeps with various other women from time to time. Oh and he enjoys having awkward conversations with Stevens about their freaky sexual experiences,......ok. This isn't a comedy.

This is Goldblum's character pretending to be clean
But if there's one thing that director Bill Duke did right was showing the progression at which how bad things can get. As the running time continues, the audience sees the changes at which Stevens has to make so he can match the crime lord that he's after. It's a big mess though, the title really should've been called Deep Crap or something because the further Stevens stays in the game, it feels harder for him leave. The cinematography by Bojan Bazelli is shockingly not captivating this time.  I guess urban landscape isn't his forte. Music related, Michel Colombier's score had an interesting main theme by giving it that early 90s soul feel with bongo drums. Sadly though it wasn't memorable. More could've been done to actually give some emotion to the scenes that were filmed.

This intellectual thriller has moments of clever writing and direction but it doesn't occur often enough. The story contains too many unnecessary characters, its leads are mostly underwritten and the music is forgettable.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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