Director: Michael Rymer
Starring: Omar Epps, LL Cool J, Nia Long, Stanley Tucci, Hill Harper
A fearless cop is taking on a ruthless crimelord. He knew the risks. He just didn’t know how far he would have to go.
Jeff Cole is a rookie officer who is given a promising and demanding job as an undercover cop under the guidance of his captain Preston D’Amborsio. After doing very good in some small operations, he is given the big task of infiltrating the gang of the New York crime boss Dwayne Gittens, better known on the street as simply God.
Coole takes on a different identity when he goes on undercover on this task and transforms himself into J. Reid from Akron. Under his new name he is able to work himself up the ladder and get very close to God and now he is starting to have trouble disconnecting J. Reid from Jeff Cole.
In Too Deep might sound like something you have seen before, and yeah the story isn’t all that original but the execution of it is very solid. It is a film that is very easy to enjoy, you have a good leading character that are torn inside between the law and his new friendship with the people on the street and on the other side you got a bad guy that is a 100% douchebag. The inner city settings is also great for a gangster film, sporting a soundtrack with good street hip-hop and interesting smaller characters aswell.
The story is very character driven and the film has to rely on engaging performances by all actors involved and that is just what we got from them. Omar Epps is excellent in the leading part as Jeff Cole, being able to show the struggle within the characters and how easily he could have ended up switching sides to live a gangster life without ever losing the sympathy of the viewer. LL Cool J is also very good as Dwayne “God” Gittens. He is intimidating, cruel and very believable as the crime boss without ever becoming over the top.
The Australian director Michael Rymer should get a lot of credit for making this film so good. When basically every character in the film is believable, treated serious and got good performance then it is with no doubt that there is some talent behind the camera aswell. The narration is also good and the only downside to it is that the tension level never gets very high and that the ending plays more realistic than cinematic without any big standoff between the main characters. He went on to do Queen of the Damned after this and that kind of put a hamper on his career, but he did show here that he can do a good character driven film, so it’s too bad that he didn’t get to do more films like this, although he is still active and you never know what happens in the future.
In Too Deep might not be anything spectacular, but it is a solid work of film where everyone involved brought enthusiasm and handles their job professional. It is good undercover cop movie with a believable premise and characters and it holds up pretty well on repeated viewings.