Directed By: Jim Sheridan
Written By: Terence Winter
Cinematography By: Declan Quinn
Editor: Roger Barton & Conrad Buff Jr. 

Cast: Curtis “50 CENT” Jackson, Terrence Howard, Tory Kittles, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Leon, Joy Bryant, Omar Benson Miller, Mykelti Williamson, Bill Duke, Viola Davis, Russell Hornsby, Mpho Koaho,

A tale of an inner city drug dealer who turns away from crime to pursue his passion, rap music.

This film feels a modern 70’s black exploitation film that tries to be a drama now and again. It doesn’t really deal with graphic violence or nudity really. In fact the film feels more melodramatic to give itself heart. Though the film is obviously well made, it seems to go for a more boastful story then truly dramatic.

At times it becomes more street cliche then hearsay. The same type of formula that tries to copy from 50 cents hip hop partner EMINEM’s film 8 MILE. While both are autobiographical loosely. 8 MILE ends with a victory of sorts, but gives you the hint many more challenges and problems lay ahead. Which feels natural. Here by end everything works out and seems victorious in all aspects. Which feels more like a fantasy.

Now I realize both men lead different lives and have different histories. Items just this film concerns itself with glitz and boast, with moments of heart only. There are pieces of this film Which are great, but It also feels stuffed like an epic. So Much happens an so. Many stages that you Start to feel it’s length instead of it’s weight.

Let me start off by saying this movie is not as bad as I thought it would be, but it is still a little disappointing. It tries to follow the same route as mentor Rapper EMINEM by creating a movie for his first starring role that closely resembles his real life uprising as a rap superstar.

The only problem is that while his film shows 50 cent to be vulnerable and human. It doesn’t show it enough to endear him to the audience. It also doesn’t necessarily show off his skills as some one of a kind talent. That it seemed like 8 MILE went out of it’s way to hammer home. Though that film seemed to also be more about identity. Learning responsibility and heartbreak. Though it does include hose virtues. This film seems more about revenge and forgiveness that happens to include hip-hop in it’s background and battlefield.

The film is interesting, but not compelling. While being Getty and showing us the dangerous criminal and hustler lifestyle in some way. It feels inauthentic even though a lot of violence, action and power struggles. To feels one it is trying hard to be everything. To everyone in the audience. To reach all the expectations out upon it. Tough and street for the men in that audience, but rough around the edges, sweet and sensitive for the ladies and a gangster element to go with the songs on the soundtrack for 50 cent’s fans.

The film feels overproduced like it’s made by commitee. Though it is surprisingly made by acclaimed director Jim Sheridan. Though according to 50 Cent said that this film is “about 75% accurate”

Surprisingly this film wasn’t a bit. Audiences seemed to prefer the myth and rumors of 50 cent to supposedly the autobiographical story that is presented here.

Technically the film is on point. The writing isn’t the greatest but is passable. The acting is truly the only noteworthy thug about this movie. 50 cent isn’t great but he is o.k. Virtually playing himself. He is better than you would think (way better than his role in RIGHTEOUS KILL) the stand out is Terrence Howard as his crazy right hand man/friend he meets in prison. Joy Bryant is as touching as she is beautiful. Omar Benson Miller is in this film he was also in 8 MILE I hope he isn’t going to keep up roles like this as Random friend, he is a better actor then that. I like him. I just don’t want to see him in best selling rapper decides to make his big screen debut loosely based on his troubles life movies. Get better representation.

The biggest shock in the movie is the appearance by actor/director Bill Duke. Who I love as an actor, he doesn’t work nearly enough. Who though Jim Sheridan isn’t a lightweight. He is Oscar nominated quite a few times. Mr. Duke might have been a little better suited to direct this tale. As he had quite the directing resume himself (DEEP COVER, HOODLUM, SISTER ACT 2) Don’t get me wrong I like seeing the New York underworld from a different perspective and fresh eyes.

Maybe the film takes too many artistic strokes with a rather basic storyline, that seems stretched to try and make it more uplifting. It feels like Director Sheridan didn’t want to make it too simple and might have been an ill fit for the material. That seems to want to be more exciting when action does happen and not go behind the motivation and drama of the situation as much.

50 Cent hired an acting coach but Jim Sheridan had the woman removed from the set. Sheridan told 50 “If this fails, it won’t be because you can’t act. It’s because I didn’t direct you right.” Samuel L. Jackson was offered the role of Levar but turned it down. He told an interviewer that while he liked 50’s music, he did not feel that 50 Cent earned the right to star in a film by Jim Sheridan. However, Jackson later co-starred with 50 in HOME OF THE BRAVE.

The film seems rushed maybe the filmmakers should have spent a little more time writing and working the story out while planning the release. Allow it to marinate in pre-production to work out the problems, break the story. As it stands now it’s more like the film needed to be done by a certain date to coincide with his new album or something like that. Striking while the iron was no and his career was on fire.

It feels like the story had to follow the soundtrack of songs that were already laid out in advance, instead of the other way around. It also seems to be counting Mr. Cent’s new record. Now please fans of 50 cent don’t kill or harm me. I’m not placing the Blame on him, but hair as everyone behind the scenes, his hands aren’t clean on what went wrong with this movie. It is his story they are supposed to be representing. I think this is actually 50 cent’s first bad investment. That didn’t seem to be hard and real enough for his fans and not too far a stretch from what was known about him to entice audiences who weren’t necessarily his fans. It just seemed like more of the same of his public image.

Grade: C

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