Paper Soldiers

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Paper Soldiers
DVD cover for the film.
Directed by David V. Daniel
Damon Dash
Produced by Damon Dash
Written by Brian Ash
Charles Murphy
Starring Beanie Sigel
Kevin Hart
Stacey Dash
Michael Rapaport
Memphis Bleek
Tiffany Withers
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
June 2002
Running time
88 minutes
Language English

Paper Soldiers is an urban crime comedy released in 2002. This hip-hop comedy from Roc-A-Fella Records' film division stars Kevin Hart (in his film debut), Beanie Sigel, Stacey Dash, Kamal Ahmed, and rapper Jay-Z appears in a cameo role. Kevin Hart plays the character Shawn, a rookie thief who is part of a crew of thieves who does small-time jobs like house breaking. The crew itself is not exactly a highly polished operation, and the crew's capers result in comic mishaps far more often than actual thefts. They still manage to do some jobs like breaking into Jay-Z's house and robbing some of its material goods, but predictably, they receive prison time for robbery or aggravated assault.

Beanie Sigel plays Stu, a hot-headed hood bully that does small robberies to make some cash, Damon Dash and Memphis Bleek as a thieves of another crew, Stacey Dash as a beautiful woman named Tamika, Myxt Matanza as the bodega owner and Jay-Z as the rapper himself. It was produced by Roc-A-Fella Films and distributed by Universal Pictures.


Shawn recently lost his mother. He attends her funeral with his girlfriend Monique and their son, his friends Burtie and Johnny among others. Burtie tries to convince Shawn to do some burglary jobs, which Shawn declines at first. One day Shawn went to see his parole officer and she informs him his next urine text needs to be clean, and needs to keep his job at the beeper shop. Shawn arrives to work and receives his check, then gets upset of how low his payment is. After seeing the electricity at his house get cut off, he decides to accept Burtie's offer. In their first job, they attempted to steal money among other things they can find in the house they broke into, but failed to gain anything due to being scared off by rats they found in the dressers. They did another job the following day, this time accompanied by Johnny, and was able get what they could. Shawn is happy seeing he is receiving more money with burglaries than he is getting at his job.

Shawn and his other friend Stu, just released from jail, decides to rob a house and discovers it belongs to a famous boxer. A neighbor spotted them breaking in, and they flee. Nearby detectives Johnson and Travis receive the report and a car chase ensues as the detectives chases Shawn and Stu. Although Shawn manages to escape, Stu was arrested once again.

With Burtie in jail for unknown charges, Shawn visits Burtie's older brother Will and asks to join his crew, which Will accepts him in and is willing to train him. On Shawn's next burglary job, he is chastised by Will and his partner Larry (who instantly shows a strong dislike towards Shawn), for using a crowbar to break in a house. Will cuts the wire of the alarm in the back of the house and they all walk in. They steal jewelry that is found in a hidden safe, which Will would receive $50,000 for them. The next day, they break into another house. Will discovers a wire was already cut and they notice the back door is also open. When they walk in, they find Damon Dash and Memphis Bleek robbing the house. Much to Shawn's surprise, Damon and Bleek already knew Will and Larry and they agreed to find what they can at the house and split their earnings down the middle. Shawn and Johnny also robbed Jay-Z's house.

Shawn takes Monique out to celebrate his birthday along with Will, Larry & Johnny at a club. He gets to the bar and runs into Tamika, a woman he tried to impress at the beeper shop earlier in the film. As Shawn brings the beers back to his table with his friends, he sees Stu in the club with a new girlfriend as he is out on bail. Stu then notices Pat, the mother of his children, out with another man named Rudy. Stu confronts both of them and then assaults Rudy. After the fight, Rudy tries to go see Pat at her house but she rejects him. He then beats her up. Pat then calls Stu and then Stu gets Shawn to accompany him as he gets revenge on Rudy. The next day, Shawn, Stu and Johnny break into another house, but were unsuccessful in gaining anything due to the police driving around the neighborhood.

Shawn goes to see his parole officer for the second time. The parole officer informs him that he failed the urine test, then warns him that if he fails the test again, he will be sent back to jail. Shawn arrives to work and then gets fired. Shawn's co-worker Kay asks if he could join him and Johnny on the burglaries, which Shawn accepts. Shawn has Kay as a driver and a lookout. Moments after Shawn and Johnny enter a house, Kay gets paranoid and drives off. As Shawn and Johnny comes out the house with stolen goods, they see Kay disappear. Kay comes back only to bypass them, then circles around and Johnny manages to stop Kay's car. They are then chased by the police. Shawn and Johnny escapes, but Kay gets caught.

As soon as Shawn gets home, he gets into an argument with Monique over Shawn doing illegal business. The next day, Shawn sees his parole officer once again. She informs him that he once again failed the urine test. As she makes a call to get a police officer, Shawn runs away. Shawn meets up with Will and Larry at an auto body shop. They talk business with Mikey O, a worker at the shop, and he informs them about a house with a lot of money in it that is owned by a millionaire. Mikey O also sends his friend Mike E. to accompany them to steal the money from the house. Unfortunately for them, detectives Johnson and Travis tracks them down. Mike E. and Larry gets caught, but Shawn and Will escapes in the car Mikey O supplied them with. As other police cars chase them, Will gets angered with Shawn for being bad luck to him. Although the features installed in the car that is meant to be used against the police in a high-speed chase backfires, Shawn and Will manages to escape the police. As Shawn returns home to say goodbye to Monique and their son, he sees the house is empty. Unfortunately, the police catch up to Shawn. He tries to escape but then gets caught by Travis. He receives a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, but he only did 2 and 1/2 years on good behavior. The film ends as it began with Shawn playing dominoes with Burtie and Johnny, and with Shawn's message to the audience to not break into other people's houses.


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