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It's no wonder Caught Up only garnered haphazard theatrical release in 1998. Director Darin Scott, who is credited with screenplay nods for Tales from the Hood and Sprung, tosses everything--including the kitchen sink--into this noir rip-off that borrows liberally from Chinatown and Bound but lacks the intelligent gravity and grace of the first classic or the stylish, tongue-in-cheek fun of the second. Starring Bokeem Woodbine as Darryl, an ex-con who wants to go straight but who keeps finding himself in unlucky circumstances, Caught Up has laughable dialogue and terrible bug-eyed over-emoting that tries to pass for acting, and wastes the laconic beauty of One False Move costar Cynda Williams, as a femme fatale named Vanessa Dietrich (honest!). Vanessa wraps Darryl around her little finger and embroils him in a voodoo-esque drug plot that will have the viewer rolling on the floor in disbelief. Had Caught Up played its convoluted plot for laughs, it may have at least been a camp parody on the genre, but as it is, it doesn't avoid a single cinematic cliché. Caught Up is a goofy mess of contradictions and implausibility. --Paula Nechak
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