Above the Rim

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

In yet another basketball movie, ABOVE THE RIM tells the dreams of a talented high school player, Kyle-Lee (Duane Martin). Kyle-Lee is a fast-talking basketball player whom most of the team hates because he is so good and because he hogs the ball. Kyle wants to go to Georgetown and is anxiously waiting for the acceptance letter. In the meantime, one of his friends introduces him to Birdie (Tupac Shakur), a powerful drug dealer with connections to help get Kyle into college basketball the wrong way. Kyle becomes enamored with Birdie's lifestyle and agrees to let Birdie help him get into college. Kyle's mother Mailika (Tonya Pinkins) does not approve of this at all but is unable to keep Kyle away from Birdie's influence. Kyle must decide between the honest road urged by his coach and the road of bribes and muscle that Birdie wants to go. The exciting basketball action includes a tension filled final outdoor basketball tournament called the "Uptown Shoot Out." If sports movies are to your liking, you'll probably like this one, except for its incessant obscene language.

While the end of ABOVE THE RIM reads almost like a morality play, there are enough slam dunks and energy to carry this movie through. An R rating may seem light after suffering through over 150 obscenities and many sexual references. This is too bad because there is no nudity, no sexual situations, and no extreme violence. However, it has many crude sexual remarks. Two men are shot by the end of the film but no blood is shown. Some drug dealers suffer blows to the stomach and groin, and one man is reported to have been cut up by Birdie and later dies, though this is never shown. This could have easily been a PG-13 movie if the "realistic" language had been toned down. Realism can be developed without the use of never-ending foul language.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
NewLine Cinema, 575 8th Avenue, 16th Flr, NY, NY 10018

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (53) times-Mild 20; Moderate 33

Obscene Language: Many (152) times (92 f-words, 50 s-words, 10 others)

Profanity: Regular 5 times

Violence: Few times - Moderate (men shot, no blood; blows to the stomach, face and groin; One man [not seen] cut up with a knife and dies)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times - references to genitals, intercourse

Drugs: Drinking shown few times

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Young adults, sports fans

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