Birdie (Tupac) is a guy the papers might cautiously call a ‘local personality’. He runs the drugs, the women and the crime in this city. In his spare time he also runs a team of hired basketball guns with the intent of taking out the local high stakes street all tournament.
It is with this in mind that Birdie tracks down Kyle, a local high school hot shot who ‘swear he got next’, he only needs the hook-up. Kyle resents his coach who preaches team ball. He resents his teammates who resent his hotdogging. He resents Shep – the handsome security guard who has a basketball past of his own – for his unsolicited advice. He even resents his own mother for fluttering her eyes at the handsome Shep…
Birdie is an opportunist. Kyle is looking for an opportunity. It is inevitable that they will meet. But will the vulnerable Kyle take the low road that is easy money and a life of crime, or will he side with the various others who preach hard work and leading a good life.
Above the Rim spends a good hour clumsily lining up the two sides of good and evil and placing Kyle right in between them, before realising that it is supposed to be a basketball movie, and in about eight minutes of highlight reel plays it somehow suggests that everyone in the film just leaned a valuable lesson. While I firmly believe sport is an invaluable teaching tool for young people, I’m just not sure that’s how it works.
I can see how impressionable young people might have once found this movie important. I just hope that when they revisit the film they do so with more perspective, because bumpin’ R&B soundtrack aside, Above the Rim is a blown wide open layup.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. An hour of clumsy melodrama cannot be redeemed by seven minutes of staged basketball highlights.