film review *: 50 Cent ...Dies Tryin...
Chronicle of Rapper...s Life Choppy and Nonsensical
By Yong-yi Zhu
Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Written by Terence Winter
Starring 50 Cent
Guns, drugs, sex, violence, profanity and even love: it seems like those are enough ingredients to make any movie become an instant success. Unfortunately, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” falls far short of being a success or even an average movie. This is 50 Cent’s debut movie and may just as well be his last. The film simply does not have the same entertaining value that “8 Mile” had with Eminem. Though a talented rapper, 50 Cent is a flatfooted actor.
The movie is loosely based on his life, from his youth to his rise as a gangster rapper. The movie proceeds as a long flashback. It opens with Marcus Grier (50 Cent) and several of his buddies robbing some helpless people. After they leave and proceed home, Grier himself is assaulted by a hooded man and shot. That’s when the story really begins.
Marcus is a young man marred by drug dealings. As a kid (played by Marc John Jeffries), his mother (Serena Reeder) dealt drugs to buy Marcus sneakers and nice clothing. After his mother died, Marcus went to live with his grandparents. He tried pursuing his dream of being a rapper. He rapped for a young girl, Charlene (Rhyon Nicole Brown), who is sent away because her parents discovered the tapes that Marcus gave her. After having no immediate success, but still wanting money for the clothing his mother had always bought for him, he succumbed to dealing drugs.
In drug dealing, he meets a man named Majestic (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje) who also had dealings with Marcus’s mother. He sells drugs for Majestic and quickly rises to be his number one man. However, in getting money through drugs, his life becomes more complicated, especially because a grown Charlene comes back into his life. Marcus must figure out if his true passion is in money or in music.
The problem with this movie, outside of the predictable plot, is the mechanical acting. 50 Cent really only has two genuine emotions: upset and really upset. Any other emotion he exhibits in the movie appears faked and unnatural. This makes 50 Cent a one-dimensional actor who cannot be anything but a gangster.
Likewise, Akinnouye-Agbaje is also one-dimensional. Even early on, you can see how he can be a villain despite being kind to Marcus on the surface. His character development is almost non-existent. So is that of Joy Bryant’s, whose motivation for being attracted to Marcus is never clear.
The younger version of 50 Cent may be the lone shining star of the actors. He is actually quite brilliant in mimicking his older, more famous counterpart. Not only was he tactfully cast to look like 50 Cent, but his emotions also imitate 50 Cent’s older self quite well. At first, when you see Jefferies, you’re not quite convinced that he can pull off the presence of 50 Cent, but as the character develops, there are clear glimpses of how Jeffries can turn into the famous rapper.
Another huge problem with the movie is that it’s too discordant. There appears to be distinct segments to the movie, but none of them flow together to form a fluid story. Instead, we are faced with several events, which through some narration, are pieced together. There never really seems to be a central theme; instead, it goes from one problem to the next with minimal transitioning.
In fact, the movie is so choppy and directionless that even when the ending comes, you’re not quite sure that it’s the end of the movie because you never really understood what the movie was moving towards. This lack of closure left me disappointed and empty.