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The time is now, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at Malcolm (Shamelk Moore) and his friends: hardcore devotees of ’90s hip-hop, they walk the walk and talk the talk, which makes them stand out on the mean streets of South Central L.A. While those around them are dealing drugs and waving guns, these nerds just want to be left alone – with some time on the side for Malcolm to stare at local hottie Lily (Chanel Iman). But when that leads to a friendly chat with a local drug dealer who has a past with her, Malcolm and his friends soon find themselves sole custodians of a bag full of drugs, and while the drugs owners don’t want them back, they do want what they’re owed – a whole lot of money.
This fast-paced and charming film is a salute to the ’90s in a whole range of ways: the music might be the soundtrack, but the film itself is a throwback to the independent films of the early and mid-’90s, back when low budget films weren’t afraid to be funny and still get a message in there. It’s a crime caper film with a lot of smart twists, it’s a character drama with a point to make, there’s enough tension to keep you in your seat and enough laughs to make you glad you came: as they said in the ’90s, Dope is dope.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris