Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paid in Full Based on Alpo Martinez, Azie Faison, and Rich Porter

Synopsis: A young man who lives a clean life gets caught up in the game

True Story: Paid in Full is a 2002 movie based on real life friends Alpo Martinez, Azie Faison, and Rich Porter. The names were changed in the movie. The real story took place in Harlem and Washington DC. The movie stays pretty close to the true story. Azie Faison who was the man responsible for writing the script based on his life didn't approve of the final result of the movie. He was disappointed that the producers didn't stick to the true story verbatim. The producers took several creative liberties with the script.

It is sort of confusing to figure out who plays who in the movie. So here is the cast of characters.

Mekhi Phifer played the role of Mitch. The real life Mitch was a man named Rich Porter aka Richard Thomas Porter. He is very well known in the rap and hip hop community and amongst people who lived in Harlem and the Bronx. Rich Porter's name is mentioned in several songs by various rappers.In the movie remember the little boy that was depicted as Mitch's little brother? Well, in real life his name was Donnell Porter. That day in 1989 a van pulled up with masked men and grabbed Donnell as he was walking to school. In the movie the person responsible for setting up Mitch's little brother was his mother's sorry boyfriend, but in real life, it was Donnell's uncle Johnny.

Wood Harris played the role of Ace: Ace in real life was the man who wrote the script. His name is Azie Faison Jr. He wrote a book about his life, and there are several documentaries about Alpo Martinez, Rich Porter, and Azie Faison.

Cam'ron: Played the role of Rico based on Alberto Alpo Martinez aka Albert Geddes Martinez. In the movie he was depicted as a Panamanian guy, but he was actually Puerto Rican. Most people thought that he was African American. That is how he was able to eavesdrop on the conversations of the Colombians, because they didn't know that he spoke fluent Spanish.

All three men were very well respected, and still are even til now.

The Dominican man depicted in the movie as Lulu played by Esai Morales, was based on Azie's first connection to the business. I don't think he is ever named in any of the interviews.

There is an actual interview with Alpo where he indicates which parts are true and which parts are false in the story. In the interview he does not go into detail about how he actually took out Rich. According to him, "his little man" took him out, and he was the driver who ordered it. He says that Rich didn't scratch his neck because he never even saw what was coming.

I recommend listening to the full interview.

"Alpo Interview"

"The Alpo Story"

Overall this was a very interesting movie about Harlem in the eighties. It is said that part of this movie also inspired New Jack City, though New Jack City was based mostly on Nicky Barnes.


  1. Awesome break down of who was who in the movie to the real life situation.

  2. In the movie it does show Mitch's uncle as the one that was behind the kidnapping of his little brother. Also in the movie it shows Ace coming home after the birth of his son his baby mother was not present in the movie at the time he was robbed

  3. I saw the movie, and now hearing how the true people of these events are identified made it just that more interesting .