Caught Up

on February 27, 1998 by Karen Achenbach
   Bokeem Woodbine, the superior actor from "Strapped," "Jason's Lyric" and "Dead Presidents," stars here as Daryl Allen, a young black man released from prison determined to work his way back to his son and ex-girlfriend ("One False Move's" Cynda Williams), who are now with another man. In short order, Daryl finds a new lover, Trish (Cynda Williams in a dual role), a siren with the face of his ex; a new boss, Billy ("Amongst Friends'" Joseph Lindsey), a fascinating weirdo with a fleet of limos; and new enemy, Ahmad (Basil Wallace in a wonderful performance), a dreadlocked Jamaican druglord out to kill Trish. (When Ahmad hurls an insult, it's a word like "usurper.")
   The interesting script by first-time director Darin Scott is a noir-style mystery set in Los Angeles. Full of twists, threats and betrayals, it boasts an intelligent voice-over narration from Daryl that offers insights like "The answers in life are usually right in front of you, waiting for you to open your eyes and take a look," and "The thrill of the game [drug dealing] never leaves your blood; you've got to remove yourself from temptation."
   Woodbine is a remarkable actor who creates a strong bond with audiences, and here has the rare and extremely welcomed role of a man whose fiber is tough enough to say "no" to the weak-willed choices so many movie "heros" fall prey to. Though the success of the story's execution is at times uneven, this film surprises, even when some outcomes can be guessed, because of its fresh approach to characters, plot twists and cinematographic embellishments. Cameos by LL Cool J and Snoop Doggy Dogg add to the excellent acting all around.    Starring Bokeem Woodbine, Cynda Williams and Joseph Lindsey. Directed and written by Darin Scott. Produced by Peter Heller. A Live release. Mystery. Rated R for strong sexuality, violence and language. Running time: 97 min.
Tags: Bokeem Woodbine, Cynda Williams, Joseph Lindsey, Darin Scott. Produced by Peter Heller, Live, Mystery

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