An intermittently engaging first feature by writer-director Boaz Yakin, who previously scripted The Rookie, about a 12-year-old boy living in a Brooklyn slum who manages to extricate himself from drug running by applying lessons learned in speed chess from his estranged father (Samuel L. Jackson). Poised somewhere between a movie-familiar (i.e., semiscurrilous) look at inner-city life as trench warfare and a farfetched Hollywood revenge fantasy, this is kept alive largely through its first-rate performances, beginning with Sean Nelson’s as the boy; Giancarlo Esposito is also a standout. With Cheryl Freeman, and N’Bushe Wright.