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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Urban > Teens > African American > Hip Hop > Rap > Dope (2015/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Dope (2015/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: A+/B Sound: A+/B Extras: C+ Film: A-

Dope is, at first glance, a movie that has the usual teen coming of age story. With that theme there comes the hints of comedy riddled throughout, but that does not just make up the whole entire movie. We follow Malcolm (Shameik Moore), who is a geeky teenager that dreams of going to Harvard after he graduates from a rather poor area in Los Angeles, California that people refer to as "The Bottoms". Unfortunately, he has an obsession for '90s Hip-Hop music and how those rappers and artists went about their ways back then.

The word dope has a few meanings, which the Director (Rick Famuyiwa) and Editor (Lee Haugen) bring to light at the very first image of the movie and the word can mean an illegal drug that is being used for recreation, a stupid person, or slang used to describe something as excellent or approving. This is kind of an important message to remember throughout the movie, because not only is it titled Dope, but it also uses all three definitions of the word throughout, not to mention it's one of the first words spoken by the main character in the movie.

The teenage coming of age tale makes up a big part of this movie; however, it takes Malcolm (Moore) down a slightly different path from what we have seen before. Malcolm and his two geeky friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) have to ride their bikes home every day through rough areas in their home town, the area they refer to as "The Bottoms", but one day he is stopped by a well known drug dealer in his town, Dom (A$ap Rocky), who tells him to start talking to a girl across the street for him. As soon as Malcolm (Moore) helps him it all starts going wrong.

Dope shows us the struggles of growing up in this rough neighborhood and how it affects your behavior and what you need to do to survive. This type of drama has been seen before, but the movie gives a fresh perspective on it with an engaging story of how these underprivileged kids use their high intellect to figure out how to get out of a problem and sell drugs.

However, the movie does have a slight issue on the message it is trying to tell us. The audience may be left wondering if they are to believe that eventually everyone in "the hood" ends up selling dope or left feeling that he is going to turn out differently than the people Malcolm (Moore) encounters and blend his school smarts with the street smarts.

The cinematography in Dope is actually quite good. Each shot matches up pretty well to the scene and looks beautiful, especially in the Blu-ray 1080p with its widescreen 2.40:1 format. The colors are very warm and pop with almost a retro looking vibe we get from the main characters personalities and clothing. The image quality is great and taking the word straight from the movie, it looks "dope". There is much dialogue and some "old school 90s rap/hip-hop music that come through crystal clear with its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and especially the lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 that is at least, if not past, theatrical quality presentation.

The bonus features on the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack for Dope include Dope is Different and Dope Music. It also includes a digital quality that is in HD if watched on the proper source.

- Jordan Whiteko


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