Fishburne, sensational in his first starring role, is a mid-West undercover cop brought in to infiltrate a West coast drugs ring whose members stretch up to the Latin American diplomatic corps. In a stunning opening sequence, we see a ten-year-old boy (who grows up to be Fishburne's John Q Hull) cradling his junkie father as the latter dies on a doomed Christmas attempt to rob a liquor store for dope money. Twenty years later, Hull is a cop with an attitude problem, a man who obeyed his father's order never to touch drugs but still has all the animal instincts of the dark side of the street. In the course of his work, Hull has to feign indifference to scenes of hideous violence, and gradually becomes embroiled with Goldblum's on-the-edge lawyer/user/dealer. Eventually, biting on a little more than it can chew, the film reverts to type. But in addition to Fishburne, it gives us a first-rate soundtrack, a clutch of splendid cameos, fine, grainy direction from Duke, and much pointed stuff about the hypocrisy behind the USA's so-called war against drugs.