I didn't know what to expect when I saw this movie, as I was in the middle of a two or three-month stretch of renting out nothing but "hood" movies, most of which were fairly mediocre. Here, though, I wasn't disappointed.
I'd never seen Omar Epps in a movie before this one, and I have to admit, I was pretty shocked that such an amazing actor had passed me by without my noticing. His role isn't an easy one to play - it could so easily have been overacted - yet he gives a flawless performance as a troubled man trying to figure out where his loyalties lie. LL Cool J fills out his role very well, making a menacing - if vaguely cliched - drug lord, and Stanley Tucci brings a sense of comfort and lightness as the police chief and Epps' mentor.
It is Epps, however, who makes the film. I've since seen other movies with him in, yet this remains one of his best performances. I loved it, my best male friend loved it, my 60-year-old mother loved it. Go watch it. =)