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In Too Deep
Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . G . PAL


With only one foot out of the academy, rookie policeman Jeff Cole (Omar Epps), volunteers for a dangerous undercover assignment. His target is Cincinnati's biggest drug dealer, Dwayne Gittens, a.k.a. "God" (LL Cool J), who controls the majority of the city's crack supply. After a nervous start, Cole’s childhood in the projects just starts to bear him fruit, getting in with God’s boys and earning the big man’s trust, when he is pulled off the assignment after an unavoidable shooting.

Placed on mandatory sabbatical, Cole spends the next few months in a farmland safe-house, taking photography lessons at the local college and getting friendly with one of his models, Myra (Nia Long). But soon the lure of the job proves too strong and he is drawn back under.

The latest film from Australian director Michael Rymer (who brought us the fantastic Angel Baby), In Too Deep is an all-too formulaic inner-city crime drama. We’ve definitely seen all this tense under-cover stuff before (and better), and believe me this is no Donnie Brasco. The script is flat, borrowing flagrantly from its genre, and the character development is basically non-existent. The pacing is also poor. In the middle of the film, when Cole takes his sabbatical, the film essentially grinds to a halt

Only one thing raises In Too Deep above its many clichés and obligatory hip-hop soundtrack, and that is the performance of LL Cool J. Having established his career with an entertaining turn in Deep Blue Sea and an inspired performance in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday, Cool J does a fine job as God. Despite a lack of any serious development, God is a nicely rounded character – not your average soulless drug dealer. Despite being a viscous killer, he desperately craves the respect and acceptance of his community and desperately wants to trust people. Cool J does a fine job breathing life into this conflicted soul.

Rymer has also done a reasonable job. The film contains some good plot devices, for example telling pieces of the story in flash back and flash forward. He also generates a suitably brooding atmosphere and, on at least a few occasions, some palpable tension. However, at the end of the day there's only so much that can be done with a script that claims to be "inspired by true events" but in reality has been pasted together using scenes and plot elements from a selection of other films.


Roadshow have presented an anamorphic transfer of In Too Deep at a ratio of 2.35:1 on a single-sided, single layer disc. In terms of video, this is a fantastic effort. The image is sharp and very clean, with a high amount of detail evident. Shadow detail was also great, and very necessary given the many scenes at night or in poorly lit locations (such as night clubs). Black level is spot-on and colours are well balanced.

In terms of MPEG artefacts, only two instances of slight posterization were noticed towards the end of the film. These were only slight and not distracting.

In terms of audio, only a single track is supplied - English Dolby Digital 5.1. The soundtrack is surprisingly immersive with good use of the surrounds to provide ambience and the pumping hip-hip score. The subwoofer also gets a look in, providing edge to the score's booming beat, and adding body to the odd effect.

At all times dialogue is clear and lip sync is not an issue. I must admit I did have a little trouble with the street vernacular. In total I reckon I missed about 20% of the dialogue (dog).

With only a single layer and a reasonable transfer, there isn't much space left for extras. The menus on the disc are anamorphic, static and silent. Only one extra is provided, and that is the Theatrical Trailer, presented at a ration of 4:3 and with a transfer equivalent to the main feature.

Overall, In Too Deep feels flat and familiar. A bit of violence, street-vernacular and hip-hop unable to redeem a lackluster and derivative plot. With no extras or other features to mitigate what is only average cinema, I would definately recommend renting first before buying this title

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  •   And I quote...
    "...a bit of violence, street-vernacular and hip-hop cannot redeem a lacklustre and derivative plot."
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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