6 Film Heat on the Street [2 Discs] [DVD]
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In this crime thriller, L.L. Cool J is a underworld boss so powerful that his nickname is "God." He has his fingers in 80% of the drug traffic in Cincinnati, has won over nearly every adversary through bribery or intimidation, and seems practically untouchable. New police detective Jeffrey Cole (Omar Epps), convinced that he's the man who can bring down "God" and his empire, assumes a criminal identity that allows him to infiltrate "God"'s organization. However, the longer Cole remains inside the underworld, the more he finds himself caught up in it, and getting out of "God"'s empire becomes more difficult than getting in. The supporting cast includes Stanley Tucci as Cole's superior, Nia Long as Cole's girlfriend , and Pam Grier as an undercover detective, as well as hip-hop artists Nas and Mya. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
The Glass Shield
In this crime drama, an honest lawman has to decide where his loyalties lie in a corrupt system. All his life, J.J. (Michael Boatman) has dreamed of being a cop, and after graduating from the Police Academy, he gets his wish, becoming the first African-American policeman based out of Los Angeles' Edgemar station. However, J.J. discovers that his race makes him an outsider among his fellow officers. His presence is not welcomed by his superior, Massey (Richard Anderson), and the only colleague who is truly hospitable to him is Deborah (Lori Petty), the only female cop at Edgemar and the target of as much abuse as J.J. Hoping to somehow fit in, J.J. digs into his work and tries to be "just one of the guys," ignoring the racism and corruption around him. However, one night J.J.'s fellow officer Bono (Don Harvey) pulls over Teddy Woods (Ice Cube), an arrogant and uncommunicative young black man, and in the midst of an illegal search of his car, he finds a gun; even though he knows that Bono acted improperly, J.J. put his loyalty behind the force and lies to support Bono's story. The gun's serial number matches that of a weapon used to murder the wife of Mr. Greenspan (Elliott Gould), a prominent Jewish businessman, and Woods is charged with the killing. However, J.J. discovers that the number of the gun had been altered, and he has to decide what to do when he realizes that Teddy could be sentenced to death without having committed a serious crime. The Glass Shield also features Bernie Casey, Sy Richardson, and M. Emmet Walsh. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
John Terlesky directs Lou Diamond Phillips in the action thriller Malevolent. Police officer Jack (Phillips) has been under investigation since he was forced to shoot a man in the line of duty. His problems are exacerbated when someone begins making it appear that he is responsible for a series of murders. The only person he can trust to help him clear his name is a stripper (Kari Wuhrer). ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi
License to Kill
License to Kill is a serious TV movie dealing with the subject of drunken driving. The film begins when a popular high school girl is killed in a head-on collision by inebriated-businessman Don Murray. Though he's had a drinking problem for some time, Murray has dismissed it as a byproduct of the tensions of his job. Facing a manslaughter charge, the well-heeled Murray hires an expensive defense team....while the father of the dead girl (James Farentino), with hardly a penny to his name, is doggedly determined to see that Murray pays for his misdeed to the fullest extent of the law. The conflicting personalities of the two men are counterpointed by the anguish experienced by their wives (Millie Perkins and Penny Fuller). Written by William A. Schwartz, License to Kill debuted on January 10, 1984. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
A Rage in Harlem
Bill Duke directs this quirky film adaptation of Chester Himes' crime novel -- a heavily plotted gangster tale with a sweet love story hidden underneath. The film begins in Natchez, Mississippi in 1956. During a police shoot-out with the mob leader Slim's (Badja Djola) gang, Slim's moll Imabelle (Robin Givens) takes off with a cadre of stolen gold. As a result, Imabelle is chased by Slim's mob from Mississippi to New York. By the time she reaches Harlem, she is broke and has to figure out a way to ditch the trunk full of gold. She finds herself at the annual Undertaker's Ball, where she sees the big and dumb Jackson (Forest Whitaker), a bumbling undertaker's assistant. She spots Jackson as a mark that she can use as a cover and latches onto him immediately. She moves in with him to hide out, but Imabelle becomes taken with his innocence. For his part, Jackson falls head over heels in love with her. But the Mississippi mob catches up with her and takes her away. Jackson calls in his street-wise brother Goldy (Gregory Hines) to help him rescue Imabelle. Jackson fears that Imabelle has been kidnapped. But Goldy knows better -- he still agrees to help him but Goldy wants the gold for himself. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
Cry, the Beloved Country
Alan Paton's classic novel about two fathers coming to terms with personal loss and the emotional scars inflicted on South Africa during the era of apartheid was brought to the screen for a second time with this adaptation, the first major film produced in South Africa after Nelson Mandela's election ended mandatory white rule in that nation. Rev. Stephen Kumalo (James Earl Jones) is a minister from a poverty-stricken farming community who travels to Johannesburg for the first time in search of his son Absalom (Eric Miyeni), who moved to the city some time back and has gone missing. Kumalo regards the big city as a den of iniquity, and his low expectations are not betrayed; he is robbed and beaten shortly after he arrives, and when he visits his brother John (Charles S. Dutton), he discovers that Absalom has become a petty thief with a pregnant girlfriend, his sister Gertrude (Dambisa Kente) is a prostitute, and John has renounced his faith in God and advocates the violent overthrow of South Africa's white leadership. James Jarvis (Richard Harris) -- a wealthy white landowner from the same part of the country as Kumalo -- has also arrived in Johannesburg, also with sad personal business to attend to; his son, a well-liked activist for the rights of the city's black majority population, was killed during a robbery. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi