Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray Combo Pack & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is a straight-A high-school senior into old-school rap who finds himself in the middle of an adventure involving shady drug dealers, offbeat weirdos and a backpack that can make or break his chance of getting into Harvard.
Malcolm (Moore) and his two good friends are three geeky kids just trying to survive daily life in a dangerous LA neighborhood, making impressive grades, refusing to become the cliché stereotypes so common in the neighborhood and heavily influenced by 90’s hip hop, even going so far as viewing old videocassettes of MTV Jams for fashion and style suggestions. When a surprisingly friendly chance encounter with a local drug pusher results in their attendance at a party which ends with a police raid, Malcolm soon discovers that his backpack has been filled with large quantities of dope stashed there by the arrested dealer, throwing Malcolm and his friends into a wild and dangerous adventure throughout these dangerous LA streets, and as things get more deadly the results of this fiasco could either make or break their future.
Rick Famuyiwa wrote and directed ‘Dope’ and he does a magnificent job at the helm guiding his own script with near perfection, perfectly capturing the world and vibe these kids find themselves in and keeping things so continually spot-on and fast paced that I constantly found myself with a grin plastered on my face as a result. This phenomenal film also benefits tremendously from the incredibly talented individuals who comprise the cast including Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Chanel Iman, rapper A$ap Rocky and a number more, all of whom deliver more than capable performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Dope’ is a smart, fresh comedy that is not only one incredibly fun ride from start to end, but powerful and almost certain to hit home in many ways for a large number of individuals out there, even for those who may not be personally familiar with the world these teens occupy. The film begins with a fast pace and some perfectly fitting musical selections and continually moves onward without any hesitation, lack in ambition or sputtering of the pacing, always appearing to know exactly what it needs to do and constantly managing to accomplish that task. ‘Dope’ also manages not to promote or encourage the activities within the film, somehow maintaining the aura of a small positive message always lingering just above the surface yet never giving the impression of pestering. Overall, ‘Dope’ is nonstop fun with an impressive cast that I would highly recommend checking out. This one is definitely worth the cost of a rental at the very least and I’m quite confident many folks will be incredibly pleased they decided to give it a whirl.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dope’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent, delivering a sharp, detailed presentation throughout that beautifully represents the rich, warm colors and style that in so many ways help to define the film and its characters, holding up admirably even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences which are quite common within the movie, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds great, delivering a clean, sharp and discrete audio presentation from start to end, utilizing all five available channels rather frequently in order to surround the viewer with the films wonderful soundtrack in addition to crowd chatter, some bullets whizzing by on occasion and a number of a other suitably fitting auditory effects, never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dope’ doesn’t include much in the way of bonus content, although it does include a couple of short but sweet Behind the Scenes Featurettes including interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew. The two short Featurettes are: ‘Dope is Different’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length), and ‘Dope Music’ (also approximately 3 minutes).