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"Idolator! Your soul is required in Hell!"
--An old man, from the final scene of the film.
The film stars Wesley Snipes as Nino Brown, a rising crime lord and drug dealer, who takes control of an apartment buliding. But he is opposed by an undercover cop (Ice-T), whose mother he killed back in the day. And now he vows to stop Nino at all costs.
Rumors of a straight-to-video sequel have popped up, but has not been offically confirmed as of yet.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Accuse the Witness: Nino accuses one of his lieutenants of being the real head of the Cash Money Brothers and it works, despite every piece of evidence and testimony that proves otherwise.
- Bad Boss: Nino can be this at times.
- Badass Grandpa: The old man at the end of the movie.
- Blatant Lies: When Nino claimed Kareem Akbar, "the educated brother from the bank" whom he stabbed in the hand and nearly strangled earlier in the film, was the real head of the CMB.
- Broken Bird: Selina.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Nino uses a little girl as this in a sickening example.
- But for Me It Was Tuesday: Played straight with Nino. He had no idea the middle-aged woman he killed happened to be Scotty's mom.
- Curb Stomp Battle: See the CMoA above.
- Catch Phrase: "Rock-a-bye, Baby."
- Dark Action Girl: Keisha.
- Development Hell: The sequel. Originally planned to begin filming in early 1992 for a Christmas release, the project has been off-and-on in development with no signs of stopping.
- Driven to Villainy: The old man shoots Nino after the latter gets off on a light sentence.
- Drugs Are Bad: The ENTIRE movie centers around this trope.
- Dumb Muscle: The Duh-Duh-Duh Man.
- The Eighties: This is where the film takes place in.
- Fan Service
- Freudian Excuse: Nino claims that he was forced to sell drugs because his mother would be killed if he didn't.
- Gang-Bangers - The CMB are a notable subversion.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: After the failed attempts to expose him, Nino becomes so paranoid, he blames his own second in command and best friend and kills him.
- Heel Face Turn: Selina, after she witnesses Nino using a young girl to protect himself.
- Heroic BSOD: Scotty has one after Pookie dies.
- Heroic Sociopath: Scotty.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Scotty and Peretti.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Blade is a drug lord, Ice-T and Bender are cops.
- If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: Scotty almost comes close to this, but Peretti and Stone tell him it's not worth it.
- Jerkass: Nino, to Selina.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted. Nino manages to get off with a light sentence, but is shot by the old man whose house he had stolen.
- Karmic Death: Nino gets shot, just like he shot many innocent people.
- Kick the Dog: The CMB forcing the residents of the apartment out of their homes so they could use it as their base of operations.
- Limited Social Circle: The CMB.
- Love Martyr: How Nino's girlfriend Selina could stay with him is a mystery, given how he mistreats her. At least until Nino crosses the Moral Event Horizon.
- The Mafia: Nino used to be friends with them... Until he backstabs them and kills them. Though it was in retaliation of the wedding shoot out.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Benny "Pooky" Robinson
- Salt and Pepper: Scotty and Peretti.
- Shout-Out: Scarface is playing on Tv in Nino's penthouse.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: "Cancel this bitch! I'll buy another one." Asshole.
- Tempting Fate: Nino is just begging to be killed.
- Token White: Peretti
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Nino and the CMB are based on Boston drug lord Darryl Whiting and his crew. Nino's last second outburst in court was directly lifted from Whiting's trial.
- The whole Carter House premise was inspired by the Chambers Brothers of Detroit.
- Villain Protagonist: This movie chronicles Nino's rise and fall.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Nino.