Paid In Full
I know I joined my friends on some stupid ventures. Trying to rap, some weird wrestling venture and even now with me doing 3BlackGeeks. We all got the phone call from a friend saying, "Yo, I got an idea that's gonna make us money." In the case of real life drug dealers Rich Porter and Azie Fasion it was, "Nigga I'm slinging that white. You want in?" with the response being "Fuck yes!"
"So what had happened was..." said me as I was ready to tweet our 165 plus followers on twitter. Knowing only 7 to 12 really gave a shit about what I had to say. I promised for weeks to do a full on review of the new negro classic "Paid In Full". This was gonna be my first big review. It was gonna rival those who were on Thatguywiththeglasses.com (which is a site I love) I was gonna be that dude to put up a review on Youtube and people were gonna give a damn. Well, nope. The rules of the internet and life wouldn't let me. I didn't have time, my great HD camera wanted to mess up on me and I have a limited movie program. With all of that, I was able to make two different reviews for this movie. What happened? Disorganization! It killed Moses when he fought the dinosaurs in the Savage Land. Seriously, look it up it's in the Bible. It's the word of God people open your eyes. Maybe I'll do YouTube movie reviews later when I get another computer and program, but no matter. I think my words are better than my reaction shots on my fat face. I'm as big as a house anyway but that camera makes me look like Sherman Klump's cousin. Plus I did my reviews in a minivan. No wonder no one watched me. I was a "Living in a van down by the river" joke away from my self esteem being crushed. But enough about that!
In the early 2000's Dame Dash was making smart ass business moves. (And somehow Jay-Z still fucked him over) He was like, "I see what you did there Master P. You made your label, slapped it on a t-shirt and tried to sell it in the form of movies and other side ventures." Dame did the same with Rocafella Records. A record label hitched to the superstar Jay-Z. Rocawear was doing well and Jay-Z was killing it. So what about everyone else on the record label? Memphis Bleek was a singles kinda guy... who am I kidding? Unless Jay-Z was on the track he couldn't sell. I'm lying? How many of you are still bumping "Memphis Bleek Is"? Beanie Sigel was different. He sold records, people liked his style and he got people interested to see him and his own to do stuff. So reasons beyond me, Dame decided to make this nigga act. In 2002 we were treated with "State Property" a movie basically making Beanie Sigel look like a badass. This was one of those asshole movies that refused to follow the logic of real life. It made Dame look like this God and Jay-Z was called "Untouchable J". To make matters worse is that the easily swayed youth that saw this movie thought "This is gangsta!" I didn't of course. I saved my "This is gangsta" quote for later that year when Ralph Fiennes set Phillip Seymour Hoffman on fire in Red Dragon. Then came "Paper Soldiers" with Beanie Sigel and Kevin Hart. This movie wasn't funny or good. But it did kick start Kevin Hart's movie career. So...there's that! It's also a cult classic, people really think it's hilarious. After that "Death of a Dynasty" a movie no one gave a shit about. It was enough that Rocafella Records tried to shoehorn the movie in on a rhyme that Juelz Santana did on his first album. Jokes on them, no one listened to that album! So what will be the movie we all remember from Rocafella Studios? Because at that point "Hot Boyz" from No Limit Studios looked like "Star Wars".
Paid In Full was made in 2002. Directed by Charles Stone III, the same guy who made those "Wassup" Budweiser commercials. Azie Faison Jr. wrote the screenplay of his life as a drug dealer. Not only a screenplay but a book too. The whole screenplay went deep into his life as one of the most famous drug kingpins in Harlem. It also looked into how today we have "studio gangsters" and the drug dealing lifestyle is praised as an accomplishment. Basically everything that needs to be said to the youth of today. The phony lifestyle in the rap videos isn't real. Azie was shot in the head and walks with a permanent pimp, his best friend is dead and many others too because of the drugs he served while being in that lifestyle. Dame Dash loved this screenplay, so much so the screenplay was rewritten and his story was chopped in half. Yeah, no matter how big your movie is, Hollywood will always fuck up your deep meaningful black movie. Even so we still get great scenes and real raw emotion. Some not seen in movies with this budget or subject matter. Azie hated what they did to the movie but praised the acting in the movie. Which is it's strongest point. Wood Harris was likable, Mekhi Phifer put in one of his best performances ever and Cam'ron was unbelievable in his first role ever.
Mekhi Phifer as Mitch; Wood Harris as Ace; and Cam'ron as Rico
The movie starts off with off with the guys eating Chinese food and having a conversation. From the get go you can tell Rico is an asshole's asshole. He's loud, rich and arrogant. So this was perfect for Cam'ron because he's playing himself. Ace gets the news his daughter was born, rushing over to his stash spot (And not to the hospital to see his first born!) He's jumped and shot in the head. We flashback to a year ago (Or maybe two, there's no indication outside of him looking broke) where he was working in a Dry Cleaners with his boss played by Chi McBride. We see that his life isn't the best but it certainly isn't the worse. His best friend Mitch is the biggest drug dealer in Harlem. Driving around in his brand new SAAB. Okay, when has SAAB ever been the car to get? And to make this scene more odd, Dame Dash makes a cameo- but he's driving a car and playing music that clearly wasn't made in '83. What saves the scene is it's funny hearing the back and forth from Dame and Mekhi. Back on to the subject, Ace is in love with Mitch's little sister (played by Regina Hall) and he has a fucking job. The bad part is that his mom works a lot and his sister is fucking the most basic 80's drug dealer in the world named Calvin. For Mitch, he still lives with his mom and baby brother, but doesn't move them out of the hood. I don't get it. We also see his connect and his Uncle Ice. The movie makes sure not to give away that their the bad guys. Can people read my sarcasm? I guess I will find out. Well on a night Ace was watching "Scarface" in theaters because all black people love that movie. No that wasn't a smart ass joke, we all do! Mitch was locked up. Ace days later while working just so happen to find an 8-ball of coke in someones pants he was cleaning. I love the 80's! A 8-ball of coke was like Facebook back then. To make this day more interesting Calvin was locked up too. Maybe because he was selling coke to an 5 year old in front of a cop inside of a church. Ace talks to the guy that had the 8-ball in his pants, a man named Lulu. Played by the Director in "American Virgin". Yeah, I saw that movie, not writing a review of it! He tells Ace to sell it. He does, and it just so happens Ace comes back for more. Lulu gives him more coke because just so happens he's a drug dealer to having k's of this stuff in a safe.
You got to love that helmet Cam'ron is wearing.
So as you would imagine, Ace gets a few friend and his aunt, played by Elisa Neal (Who is clearly not Ace's age!) to bottle up the coke. During this time a few things happen. Lulu is killed and Ace simply works for the guys that killed Lulu. Crisis over! His boss finds out he was using his laundry as a jump off for selling and fired him. Ace in pimp fashion says he's wants his check at the end of the week. Crisis over! But no more Chi McBride made me cry. Calvin gets out of jail and ask Ace for work. Crisis over! Now with all of this Mitch is getting jumped in jail because it's jail. Jail never make sense, but a lone rouge (who clearly isn't using Mitch as a jump off point) named Rico helps him. Both of the men form a jailhouse bond and both wait for Ace to bless them as they exit. And that happens. Ace gives both guys rank in his cocaine army and they spread it all over Harlem. Okay, it's at this point of the movie I realize I'm rooting for the bad guys. Come on! They're destroying families and causing more crime in Harlem. You're like "Come on Dee, they're only making money and having fun." Meanwhile a home is terrorized by a coke head who steals their TV for a bump! Ah, who gives a shit. Then to make matters worse Mitch's uncle Ice was caught by Mitch doing dope in the bathroom while he was looking after Mitch's little brother. Mitch kicks him out when Ice starts asking for money. Rico is acting out of control, flashing money and "being on front street." This pisses off Ace, but when Mitch was doing it he was cool with it. Also Ace, you're on front street too. When they announce your name on the radio and in clubs that's not being incognito! We get to see Rico's porno tape. It's a 80's porno tape but a tape none the less. That same night Calvin asks for more work and is told no by Ace and Rico. Calvin stands his ground and then Rico tells that "Kermit the Frog looking ass nigga" to fuck off. Which takes us back to the start of this movie. Who jumps and shoots Ace? Kermit of course! Ace wakes up in the hospital and his daughter was born on that day he almost died. It's a deep scene in the movie. But fuck that, we need Rico to suck out all of the drama!
Rico reveals that he got payback and killed Kermit. Ace is pissed at that and wants a change. BUT DOESN'T STOP SELLING DRUGS! I'm just saying. This is where the movie gets depressing. Rico wants full control of the streets and want Ace's connection. Due to their little spat Ace isn't giving Rico shit. The cops who are amazingly absent in most of this movie have been snooping around with shitty undercover men. Then Mitch's little brother is kidnapped and Mitch knows it's Ice. After a night of looking for him, he's mailed his little brothers finger. We get a super emotional scene from Mehki Phifer. I never seen this guy lay it out on the screen like this before. Well, Ace gives Mitch some coke to push so he can get the money to give Ice. Which I don't get, you guys don't have the combined money to get him? Well, the next day Mitch was found dead. Ace figures it's Rico because he just plain doesn't like him but Rico is easy to read. Rico killed Mitch for the keys of coke he had. Nothing more, he's that much of a bad guy. So Ace, with help from the feds, set up Rico. Rico was arrested while also killing a fed in the process. I have nothing smart ass to say after that. . We then end the movie with Ace years older over looking the fake world of hip-hop by watching someone filming a very, very, very weak looking video. Must have been a Tyga video, and that was Paid In Full.
This movie is something special. Despite it being raped by Hollywood bullshit, it still delivers a good performance from everyone. This movie did start a odd dislike for Cam'ron in DC. Not because he's a shitty rapper but because he snitched on everyone he had connections with in DC. Now Alpo the real guy did this in real life not Camron Giles! Somehow people say thats why he got shot in DC. This movie has a few things wrong at least logically. Like if Ace was so done with dealing drugs then why keep your connection? Why not give the business to your best friend? This isn't a Fortune 500 company, it's about 20 to 40 blocks in Harlem. Also, I know that Alpo was a arrogant asshole in real life and Cam'ron played him well. But what did Mitch and Ace see in him to keep him? He was out of control, he didn't listen to Ace and he killed people. It seems like the movie just painted him out to be this unlikable guy, I didn't understand why they stayed with him. Once again, why did Mitch still live with his mom!? He was making at least 30 to 60 grand a week. Move to the other side of Harlem or out of the city. Why stay in your moms house and bring in that heat? I know it was like that in real life but that was dumb! Whatever, this movie isn't perfect but I like it. If you guys wanna know about the real Azie Faison, just type his name on google. Hell, read his book. With that said I'll leave you guys with this clip.
3BlackGeeks Rating for Paid In Full-