The second book of author Teri Woods True to the Game trilogy makes it to the big screen in True to the Game 2 from Imani Media Group. Director Jamal Hill helms the film, which picks up a year after the murder of drug dealer Quadir Richards by his rival Jerrel (Andra Fuller). The love of Quadir’s s life, Gena (Erica Peeples), has separated herself from Philly’s scene and reinvented herself as a journalist, living and working in New York City. However, the death of Quadir still carries consequences for all who knew him.
Jerrel and his enforcer Saleem (Jeremy Meeks), soon realize their takeover of the streets isn’t going to run as smooth as possible. Jerrel soon learns that Gena has sent on assignment to Los Angeles for a career-changing story. He sets a devious plan in motion to get paid by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Back in Philly, after Quadir’s circle avenges his death with a hit on Jerrell’s crew members, another war reignites between the two crews.
I still remember reading Teri Woods street classic True to the Game in the late nineties and clamoring for the film to make its way to the big screen.
In 2017 my fanboy dreams came to fruition when producer Manny Haley and director Preston A. Whitmore II brought the film to the big screen. Outside of an era setting change and the usual pitfalls one faces when adapting a book, I enjoyed the movie.
Preston A. Whitmore II adapts the screenplay for the sequel and keeps the film moving quickly. One of the things I was fond of in the sequel was Whitmore’s characterization of Gena. Viewers from the first film and fans of the book will recall after Part 1, Quadir left Gena his secret stash of money. Newfound wealth hasn’t changed Gena in True to the Game 2, and she’s determined as ever to reach her goals of becoming a writer.
The alluring Erica Peeples continues to bring a mix of glamour, confidence, and tenderness to Gena’s role. Director Jamal Hill brings out the best in Peeples. He allows the viewers to identify with Gena’s grief and feeling potential with a new love interest. I also enjoyed seeing the range of Andra Fuller. Before his work in the first film, Fuller was known for portraying good guys or love interest, but Fuller may have a knack for being a bad guy. Some of Fuller’s strongest scenes are with first-time actor Jeremy Meeks. I generally sensed the brotherhood between the two.
Meeks, who gained fame when his prison mugshot went viral, was actually quite good in his first acting role. On the one hand, the argument could be made that Meeks merely portrays himself; however, I won’t deny his screen presence and look forward to watching him grow. Director Jamal Hill also throws in some cameos from familiar faces, including Faith Evans, Tamar Braxton, and Rotimi.
I will point out a few issues that played a part in my final grade for the film. Vivica A. Fox and Starletta DuPois return to the series as Shoog and Gah Git respectfully. The actress shared one scene together and played off each very well, and it reminded me of my own mother and grandmother talking, so I would’ve liked to see more of them.
True to the Game 2 isn’t for all tastes, and as with the previous film, some fans may find issues with the omissions and changing of details from the book. Nevertheless, as a quick ninety-minute time waster, I recommend the films for fans of street dramas.
Final Grade B –
True to the Game 2 opens in limited theaters today.