In Too Deep

An undercover cop thriller that's slightly better-than-average, thanks to a keen sense of style and a strong, attractive cast. Jeff Cole (Omar Epps) is an idealistic Cincinnati cop straight out of Cleveland's projects. Cole knows the streets will never be safe as long as drug dealers lurk on every corner, and he also knows he's the only cop street-wise...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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An undercover cop thriller that's slightly better-than-average, thanks to a keen sense of style and a strong, attractive cast. Jeff Cole (Omar Epps) is an idealistic Cincinnati cop straight out of Cleveland's projects. Cole knows the streets will never be safe as

long as drug dealers lurk on every corner, and he also knows he's the only cop street-wise enough to take down the city's biggest drug lord: Dwayne Gittens (LL Cool J), aka God. Filling the void left by every system that's ever failed his poor and predominantly black neighborhood, God helps pay

rents and makes sure everyone gets turkey on Thanksgiving. But God also taketh away, spraying the streets with drive-by gunfire and torturing to death any of his angels who fall from grace. True to the conventions of every undercover cop flick from T-MEN to SERPICO and DEEP COVER, Cole,

impersonating a drug-dealing O.G. named J. Reid, begins to lose all sense of himself as he moves ever closer to God and his violence. Cole flatly disobeys his commanding officer, Preston D'Ambrosio (Stanely Tucci), after he's force to kill two of God's flunkeys, and he treats his neglected

girlfriend Myra (the lovely Nia Long) with increasing brutality. We know Cole has gone over the edge because the none-too-subtle script, written by the film's producers, Michael Henry Brown and Paul Aaron, tells us so; it lacks the finesse and psychological insight to actually show the

disintegration of Cole's identity with any conviction. The film does hint at an interesting point about honor and betrayal, although DONNIE BRASCO said it first and far more eloquently. Nevertheless, Epps proves himself a capable leading man, Tucci makes the most out of next to nothing, and it's

great to see the intensely charismatic LL Cool J bouncing back from failed-sitcom oblivion and up on the big screen where he really belongs.

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