[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fresh_853.jpg]]

Made in 1994, this ''very'' grim crime drama is written and directed by Boaz Yakin and stars Sean Nelson as its titular protagonist.

Fresh is a young black genius living with his saintly aunt and eleven other children in a UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity neighborhood. Fresh's life is disrupted by the drug trade in several ways: working for the kingpin Esteban (Creator/GiancarloEsposito) makes him chronically late for school, his beloved sister Nicole (N'Bushe Wright) is an addict, and gunfights break out where school kids play. Fresh's father Sam (Creator/SamuelLJackson) is a caustic chess champion whose way of relating with his son is to berate him for imperfect play. Eventually, Fresh loses too much and the time comes for him to play the dangerous adults he's working for against one another, with the goal of escaping that life at all costs.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AbsoluteXenophobe: Hector, a white supremacist drug dealer Fresh gives up all his money to, to an extent. Though he doesn't kill Fresh, he openly hates black people. He'll kill if he could. Borderline with Abe Sharpe. He assaults Fresh, lightly with a bookbag, but it could have been worse. Also Corky and Esteban in that they both work together, and Corky hates "bro"-saying Hispanics and calls them "spics."
* AntiHero: Not like Fresh has much of a choice. He's up against opponents far stronger than he is. Also Perez, since he knows what Fresh is doing and he decides to look the other way. He also seems to know Fresh wants out but can't do it directly. He even allows Fresh his card so he can take down Esteban his way.
* AssholeVictim: quite a few. [[spoiler: Jake. Jake was a complete monster who killed people for no apparent reason. James was another one. He insulted Fresh and treated Fresh's sister, Nicole, like garbage.]]
* AxCrazy: Jake. Losing at a basketball game is grounds for shooting his opponent and anyone standing to close on the playground.
* BadassFamily: Fresh's dad, who's always telling Fresh about the times he played other chess players and beat them. His dad is pretty cool for the most part.
* BadLiar: comical example - one of the associates of the white supremacist Hector, ironically this associate is black, even though white crime bosses uses blacks all the time, claims to be Hector, but Fresh quickly sees through it, saying, "You ain't Hector. Hector's in that office back there. I got an appointment with Hector, not your big gorilla monkey ass."
* BeneathSuspicion: Even Esteban, who knows Fresh is smart, doesn't realize the possibility that a little kid is running a scam on his own. Interestingly, the only one who saw through part of Fresh's gambit was his classmate and best friend. Who was understandably furious because [[spoiler: Chuckie ended up getting killed.]]
* BerserkButton:
** For Fresh, his sister Nichole, although he is too vulnerable to visibly lose his temper.
** For Esteban, it's men who hold the interest of women he thinks of as his.
** Corky is (by necessity, since it's a lethal business) hyper-vigilant about his subordinates trying to double-deal.
** Jake is pretty much like Esteban - [[spoiler: killing for bizarre reasons]] - except for different reasons, when he doesn't get his money, when a kid beats him at basketball, when they try to [[spoiler: mug Fresh and Chuckie]]
* BittersweetEnding: Fresh's [[spoiler: gambit works like a charm,]] but the final scene [[spoiler: shows him sobbing uncontrollably in front of his father. The final move in Fresh's symbolic chess game with himself is black beating white.]]
* BrokenPedestal: Fresh initially [[DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster idolizes the gangster lifestyle and plans to become a big shot too.]] After [[spoiler: a pointless shootout kills the girl he had a crush on, he gives up on it. HARD.]]
* CategoryTraitor: Detectives Abe Sharpe and Perez, two white cops, interrogate Fresh. The former clearly has no desire to solve the case, since he has no concern for non-whites, being the crime was committed by a black group and against Fresh - who fled without harm - and his Hispanic friend, Chuckie. He insults Fresh with a racist rant against his race and Hispanics. Not only does he seemed unpleased with the Irish, black and Hispanic cops being part of the force, but when Perez shows a genuine concern for the victims, infuriated, Sharpe indirectly snubs him as a "colored lover" and it wasn't in a warm welcoming way either:
-->'''Abe Sharpe:''' "Fuck it! I don't need this aggravation. Perez, you love this FUCKING zoo so much?! You play with the animals."
* CharacterTitle: "Fresh" is just his street name, though.
* TheChessmaster: Fresh, natch. Both a real chessplayer and a manipulator.
* ChekhovsClassroom: Sam's chess lessons.
* ChekhovsGun: Esteban's obsession with Fresh's sister, Corky's paranoia towards his own gang members, the cop's business card.
* ChessMotifs: A very strong presence, with certain characters represented by specific pieces. Fresh even keeps a board set up and makes moves corresponding to the plot developments.
* {{Dehumanization}}: borderline because of Abe Sharpe, described above. New York, the movie's setting, is a racist city. Blacks and Hispanics do get treated in a degrading way in a lot of cases. Mind you, it's better today than it was 50 years ago. We've made strides. But it still happens a lot in New York. The fact that Sharpe is the head of the NYPD precinct in Brooklyn, and he decides not to solve the cases shows the state lack of legal protection non-whites still get. Borderline segregation.
* EtTuBrute: A particularly sad version. [[spoiler: As the movie gets closer its climax, Fresh's plan costs him everything. His aunt can't afford to have a troublesome kid in her house. She calls the Bushwick Group Home. His friend, Nicholi blames him for Chuckie's death.]] Fresh feels like the world is turning their backs on him.
* HeroicBSOD: Two for Fresh. [[spoiler: The first after his would-be girlfriend is killed, until his father gives him some Chess tips that he decides to apply in the hood. The second after said ruthless application has succeeded.]]
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Aunt Frances. Fresh's sister actually doesn't give a damn about her kindness and love because she knows she loves everyone.
* GoodVictimsBadVictims: [[spoiler: Red.]] He wasn't exactly a bad guy. He just hung out with bad people, and unfortunately [[spoiler: gets caught up in Corky's wrath for something his pal, Jake, was accused of.]]
* GoneHorriblyRight: Fresh's plan worked out great. [[spoiler: He got himself and his sister out of the ghetto, at the price of betraying or arranging the deaths of everyone he ever knew except his sister and father.]]
* GuileHero: Fresh uses straight up manipulation and deception to get out of the hood. He does a number of morally questionable things in the process, though.
* InfantImmortality: Subverted.
* ItsPersonal
* JerkAss: A few. Fresh plays chess with a white man who insults the people he plays with. Herbie, who talks pervertedly about his sister and tries to provoke Fresh. Jake is like this too, even calling Fresh a "little motherfucker," and betraying his friendship.
* JustAKid: Both played straight and subverted. Some people under-estimate Fresh because of his youth, others see him as the genius he is - and his eventual plan relies on people seeing him this way.
* MouthyKid: in two scenes. One is when Fresh's father scolds him for using the N-word, and he says, "I'ma say what I want." The other, more justified, is when Fresh is somewhat assaulted - with a bookbag thrown at him - by Sharpe, the unconcerned racist detective. When the detective tells him he better come clean about what was in his bag. He says, "What was in the bag?" Fresh knows, he's just answering him with disrespect.
* Monster: what makes this movie so unconformable to watch are the villains themselves and in some of them, the very nature of the murders they commit. As one of the following tropes will say, the men Fresh goes after are truly nasty human beings. Jake, who has no remorse for his [[spoiler: bizarre killing spree]] - when he threatens a man for not giving him personal money, [[spoiler: the kid he shoots for beating him at basketball, when he tries to mug Fresh and Chuckie, and shoots Chuckie]]. Corky is another one. Completely evil. He harbors Jake. And doesn't do a thing about what he does. Esteban, who pretends to be warm to Fresh, only to threaten him if he doesn't give Nichole to her, [[spoiler: and ends up in a brutal vicious shooting.]]
* NietzscheWannabe: Fresh's sister, actually prefers the man who treats her like dirt because she feels she is worthless. Mind you, not that her alternative was any less creepy.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: "You're the man, Jake!"
* NaughtyIsGood: Fresh and Chucky to an extent
* OrgyOfEvidence: Esteban tries to point out this trope [[spoiler: when the police finds a gun just used in a murder and a huge bag of heroin under his mattress. It doesn't help his case that both the drugs and the gun were really Esteban's, Fresh just made sure they could be found.]]
* PayEvilUntoEvil: The men Fresh goes after are truly ''nasty'' human beings, and Fresh's plan involves them meeting nasty ends.
* PointOfNoReturn: The main point of the whole movie. The end really emphasizes this. Fresh had to [[spoiler: sacrifice everything to take out the drug dealers who he was tied to against his own will and to get him and his sister out of the projects.]] The main reason [[spoiler: he cries at the end is because he'll never get to see anyone he loves again, except his sister.]]
* ThePlan: Fresh's plan to get himself and his sister out of trouble while avenging himself on his enemies.
** Mostly a BatmanGambit though. It wouldn't have helped Fresh if the bad guys hadn't stopped him exactly as they did.
** And it's a borderline GambitRoulette, although the plan's reliance on established character flaws and Fresh's JustAKid status is at least justified.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "Jake's the man now. And you gonna be his number one g. HIS NUMBER! ONE! G!"
* ReversePsychology: Fresh tells Chuckie to keep quiet that they're going to be transporting cocaine for heroin dealer Esteban. He naturally brags about everyone he meets about this, drawing the attention of the cocaine dealer Corky, exactly as planned.
* ShootTheDog: Fresh manipulates events in such a way that [[spoiler:his friend, Chuckie, will get killed in his bid to turn the gangs against each other. He also literally shoots his own dog.]]
* SmartPeoplePlayChess: Fresh's skill at chess is connected to his genius in other areas.
* SternTeacher: Mrs. Coleman.
* TooDumbToLive: Chuckie. Also Herbie. All he does is whine and complain, earning him the wrath of Esteban.
** That's kinda harsh. Yes he did immature things. But he was just a kid to an extent.
* VigilanteMan: Perez, somewhat. When he apprehends Esteban, he does so with a sorta vengeance.
* WitnessProtection: [[spoiler:Fresh's ultimate goal, for him and his sister. Even if he has to engineer the crimes he witnesses himself.]]
* WouldHurtAChild: With a chain no less. Also a racist cop assaults Fresh briefly during an interrogation scene, in which the cop throws his bookbag back at him, this after racistly berating him and Hispanics, since Chuckie was Hispanic.
-->'''Corky:''' You're [[JustAKid just a little kid]] in way over his head, [[CriticalResearchFailure I know that]]. But Esteban gotta be sent a message about horning in on my business. I'm afraid you gonna have to be my little telegram.
* YourCheatingHeart: Esteban is married with two kids, but has an [[{{Yandere}} obsessive desire]] and sexual encounters with Fresh's sister.
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