|Directed by||Damon Dash
|Produced by||Damon Dash|
|Written by||Damon Dash
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.
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Shawn recently loses his mom, 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 theft jobs, which Shawn declines at first. One day Shawn went to see his parole officer and she informs him his next urine test needs to be clean and he needs to keep his job at the beeper shop. Shawn arrives to work and receives his check, then gets upset at how low his payment is. After seeing the electricity at his house get cut off, he decides to accept Burtie's offer. Their first heist is a failure but they do another job the following day, this time accompanied by Johnny. 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, decide to rob a house and discover it belongs to a famous boxer. A neighbor spots them breaking in, and they flee. Nearby detectives Johnson and Travis receive the report and a car chase ensues as the detectives chase Shawn and Stu. Shawn escapes, but Stu is arrested.
With Burtie in jail, Shawn visits Burtie's brother Will and asks to join his crew, which Will accepts and trains him. On Shawn's next burglary job, he is chastised by Will and his partner Larry (who doesn't like Shawn), for using a crowbar to break in a home. Will cuts the wire of the alarm and they are able to steal the jewelry. The next day, they break into another home. Will sees a wire is cut and they notice the back door is open. When they walk in, they find Damon Dash and Memphis Bleek robbing the home. Much to Shawn's surprise, Damon and Bleek already knew Will and Larry and they agree to find what they can there and split the earnings. Shawn and Johnny also rob Jay-Z's home.
Shawn takes Monique out to celebrate his birthday along with Will, Larry and Johnny at a club. Shawn goes to the bar and gets alcohol. As Shawn goes back to his table, he sees Stu in the club. Stu then notices Pat, the mom of his kids, out with a man named Rudy. Stu confronts them and then attacks Rudy. After this, Rudy tries to leave with Pat to her home but she rejects him. He then attacks her. Pat then calls Stu and Stu gets Shawn to go with him as he beats up Rudy. The next day, Shawn, Stu and Johnny break into another home, but leave early due to cops driving around the neighborhood.
Shawn goes to see his parole officer for the 2nd time. The parole officer informs him that he failed the urine test, then warns him that if he fails the test again, he will go to jail. Shawn arrives to work and then gets fired. Shawn's co-worker Kay asks if he could join him and on the burglaries, which Shawn accepts. Shawn has Kay as a driver and lookout. Moments after Shawn and Johnny enter a home, Kay gets paranoid and leaves. As Shawn and Johnny exit the home, they see Kay has left. Kay comes back to bypass them, then circles around and Johnny stops Kay. They are then chased by cops. Shawn and Johnny escape, but Kay is caught.
As soon as Shawn gets home, he gets into an argument with Monique over his acts of crime. The next day, Shawn sees his parole officer once again. She informs him that he once again failed the urine test. As she calls to get a cop, Shawn leaves. Shawn meets Will and Larry at an auto body shop. They talk business with Mikey O, a worker there, and he informs them about a home with lots of money. Mikey O sends his friend Mike E. to go with them. Detectives Johnson and Travis tracks them down. Mike E. and Larry are caught, but Shawn and Will escape. As Shawn goes home to say goodbye to Monique and their son, he sees it's empty. Also, the cops catch up to Shawn. He tries to escape and hides but gets caught. He receives 12 years in prison, but does less 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 homes.
- Kevin Hart as Shawn
- Tiffany Withers as Monique
- Paul Sado as Johnny
- Derron 'Smokey' Edington as Burtie
- N.O.R.E. as KB
- Beanie Sigel as Stu
- Charlie Murphy as Detective Johnson
- Greg Travis as Detective Travis
- Memphis Bleek as Himself
- Jay-Z as Himself
- Damon Dash as Himself
- Jason Cerbone as Mikey O
- Kamal Ahmed as Shawn's Boss
- Jacob 'The Jeweler' as Joshua Rosen
- Derrick 'Capone' Lee as Will
- Kevin Carroll as Larry
- Chris Eric Williams as Kay
- Stacey Dash as Tamika
- Michael Rapaport as Mike E.
- Angie Martinez as Parole Officer
- Harold 'Stumpy' Cromer as Old Man
- Ross Haines as Timothy Briggs
- James Dickson as Fat Man
- Derrick Simmons as Rudy
- Luis Feliz as Bodega Owner
- James Johnson as Da Boss
- Cam'ron as Masked Dominican #1
- Jim Jones as Masked Dominican #2
- Lil' Cease as Parolee