Projections - Movie Reviews

Never Die Alone
Never Die Alone
Starring DMX, David Arquette, Michael Ealy

Rap and movie star DMX has his first lead role in Ernest Dickerson’s Never Die Alone. The director who’s shown insight into the urban life of those like DMX’S King David, stumbles badly working from a pulpy rendition of a story by Donald Goines.

Obviously, death has figured prominently in DMX’S appearances on screen with the likes of Steven Seagal and Jet Li. The gangsta approach in this hard-boiled slick feature speaks up about redemption, but does it in such a way that glorifies violence, manipulation and distrust. A film with flashbacks about King David through audiotapes lacks the intelligence of its smooth, if sometimes reckless lensing from the talented Matthew Libatique Requiem For A Dream.

Early on, King David is out to make good on debts to drug lord Moon (Clifton Powell). What should be an easy pickup for Blue’s minions, Mike (Michael Ealy) and Moon (Clifton Powell), goes awry as insults from the King about Mike’s scarred face Moon’s wardrobe lead to an eye-gouging and a severe knife wound.

The use of actor David Arquette, mostly known as Courtney Cox’s husband and from being in the Scream movies, as a confused guy trying to get a break as a writer, becomes one of the noticeable flaws in the film. His hard-drinking Paul is in the bar as the attack on the King occurs and he responds like a good Samaritan driving him right away for emergency treatment. It’s known from the opening shot that the dying man wouldn’t live.

Paul hardly knew the King, but soon finds plenty of drug money and the audiotapes of a man who became rich off of cocaine when the car was left to him from a profitable conversation with one of the secretive hospital staff. The white man even gets to wear his jewelry and is further estranged from a black girlfriend who tells him to call her when he “gets a life.” The past is recounted in Paul’s apartment and his new car.

The cinematography lightens up with more hues through David’s rise in crime selling drugs. Most of his ladies, like TV actress Janet (Jennifer Sky) and later college student Juanita (Regan Gomez-Preston), don’t survive to mind the highs that he gives because of his inability to hold on to them.

The scenes when the women realize what Kind David is up to have some spark, but overall little empathy is felt for anyone, and Arquette’s hapless writer who wants to work for a newspaper isn’t nearly as bright as the manuscript an editor dismisses as fiction. None of this can make the ironically titled Never Die Alone more than a grisly, expression into the nonsense and destruction created by drugs.

Never Die Alone

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