Before I Self Destruct (2009 Video)
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But that's not the way i am approaching this film, it shows us a very legitimate view of what life in the Ghetto can be like. The film gives you a good sense of emotion with a good attempt to try and put you in the place of Clarence, with the death of his mother driving him to revenge and then to participate in his new found skill of being a hit-man he turns from rags to riches and brings his little brother along for the ride. The fact that 50 cent is the producer gives authenticity to the film for those familiar with 50 cents history and the fact he actually came from Queens, New York and became involved in the criminal world.
The film however is highly predictable, with a brother that is so clever its only a matter of time until we see Clarence get shot and Shocka take revenge.
Clifton Powell fulfills his role quite well, but admittedly some acting is questionable.
I've got to confess here and now that I am not a rap fan . Most of my music collection is dominated by Celtic artists like U2 , Simple Minds and The Beta Band so I came in to BEFORE I SELF DESTRUICT with the view of watching it as a film in its own right rather than as some star vehicle for 50 Cent . The fact that the credits read that it's produced , written and directed by Curtis Jackson , the real name of 50 Cent perhaps tells you something
The story starts with setting up the backstory of the home life and family background of Clarence who is brought up by his single mother and has an academically gifted 13 year old brother . Right away I thought I'd be watching a subtle feel good cinema verite style movie where Clarence becomes a role model to his brother while struggling against a brutal environment and what the film does very well for the first third is portraying the American inner city as a bleak nihilistic place without over doing it
Then unfortunately the film blows it by having an inciting incident that takes the film in a new direction . This incident isn't exactly unexpected or shocking but it means Clarence starts becoming an entirely different character to the one we were introduced to at the start of the film and as you might expect the soundtrack becomes more prominent as if the film is trying to sell some tracks by 50 Cent . The ending is also so abrupt you'd think Jackson ran out of money before shooting was completed
There's also an aspect that's already been mentioned on this page and that is the acting is rather poor . There's different kinds of poor acting in cinema . Loud OTT acting personified by the ham acting of Steven Berkoff and the opposite type of bad acting seen here - wooden acting . It's not so bad in the early stages of the film because you can get away with it in a realist drama to a small extent and claim it's naturalistic but when the film becomes more plot driven it becomes more noticeable and annoying , but I guess if you're trying to sell records then Jackson wasn't concerned too much about the cast
The "kill" scenes are pretty authentic and brutal. The story is basic but lacks depth. I've seen worse street movies than this (Belly 2). I will commend 50 Cent for directing/writing/acting in this movie. It's hard work and for a debut in directing/writing, he did pretty well. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone, but if your a fan of 50 Cent and G Unit, then feel free to check it out.
The acting is OK. Can't say I am impressed. Fifty does the best job. The story is less than average though. He draws a nihilistic picture of living in the hood, as does Gangstarap in general, a genre which of course Mr fifty cent is a notorious representative. What puzzles me is that the (subliminal) message is in some way that even a black young man, who is a promising athlete and never touched the criminal lifestyle can turn into a shotgun-blasting killer just like that. With no second thought on why his mother got killed he somehow enters the same criminal spiral. However i guess he kills only those who "deserve it". It is interesting that what brings him down is his trust for women, as she betrays him. Just like Gangstarap, where violence is needed, money is love, and females are not to be trusted this Fifty makes these parts of Gangstarap to a movie. It is interesting to analyze this movie in the context of the academic discussion regarding Hip Hop and Gangstarap nowadays (No, I'm not talking about C.Delores Tucker, O'Reilly and other numskulls. The REAL discussion going on, Mos def, The Roots etc..)
Better acting, better storyline and creativity is what I am missing from Curtis. This is no more than listening to his albums, and I had hoped for a bit more diversity in his productions rather than a simple replay on his rap lyrics in a manuscript form.
i highly recommend this movie to all to see.
The film is far from perfect but the film shows promise, even if 50 Cent tries to be a little too flashy at times (though points for not looking like every other film out there) the real problem is that the films cast is wildly uneven and it runs from real performances to some were on the other side of "you must be joking". Its the lack of a good acting a couple of roles that really hurts this film. The ability to get through this film will depend upon how forgiving you are. if you can forgive the actors then you'll probably like this, if you can the stay away.
The acting is one of the more surprised positive aspects. Curtis is average-solid as usual but Clifton Powell really knocks it out of the park and none of the supporting cast is bad enough to ruin the movie, which is usually the case with similar movies.
If you're a fan of the genre it's worth taking a look at if its on Showtime or maybe even for a rental if you're also a 50 fan.
Before I Self Destruct is an uncompromising view of life in the inner-city that focuses on how things can change without warning. When that happens, you can be forced into making decisions that alter your path and the life of those around you. The story is told from the view of Clarence (Curtis Jackson), who also adds insightful narrative of his thoughts and past throughout the film.
Clarence and Shocka (Elijah Williams) are nurtured and loved by their hardworking single mother. Shocka is gifted academically and excelling in school while Clarence works at the grocery store after his future as a talented basketball player was shattered when he was injured on the court. Coming home one evening Clarence walks by the scene of a shooting without much thought, that is, until the police come to the door with the news that their mother was killed during a shooting. Life gets even harder when Clarence comes home to find an eviction notice the same night he is fired from his job for stealing food to feed his little brother.
After committing an act that opens the door to an illegal life he starts working for Sean (Clifton Powell) as an enforcer. He enforces Sean's enterprise and the code of the streets with deadly force. Shocka's life keeps getting better because Clarence shields him from everything. He is a positive role model at home and keeps Shocka on the right path. As Shocka asks... How long can this continue?
danceability-1, Amsterdam Holland
I never ever liked 50 cent, I always thought he was just this big mumbling beast, I never could figure out why people actually bought his records. I was full of prejudice before watching this one. REady, to watch something REAL if it looked like B.S.
Anyway, in this movie 50 cents actually acts. And when I say acts, I mean, he display tons different shades of emotion- him as well as his co-stars.(his brother, his mother, his hood friends down the street). And when I say he displays I'm not say he OVER-display, actually he's subtle.
The dialogs smell REAL from 10 miles, even the humor. Sometimes even unexpect great dry humor.
You feel really urban in this one.
The violence is realistic, and the feel is what I look for in a good Blaxplotion, I repeat a GOOD blaxploitation.
The only thing that's bad about this movie is the poster, which is really,really bad.
If this movie had another name attached to the directing/writing ....People would have taken this movie seriously.
Not because 50 direction and lead acting is bad CAUSE IT IS NOT. but because of the reputation 50 has: as a uni-emotional mumbling beast.
Had he used a pen-name for the director, and a pen-name for the writer, then this would movie would make all those "10 best hood movies" list. I have no doubt about that.
There's a scene when 50 cent had to shoot a gang member. There were 4/5 minutes of tension and suspense and fright, like I haven't felt in a long time in the genre. (this is due to the directing , acting, and location)
If the producers are listening, REMOVE THAT UGLY COVER, give a pen- name to the director and writer.. AND see this movie rise and finally take the proper CREDIT it fully deserves
if you like the genre I highly, highly recommend it. I'll def watch it again, like real, real soon.
I hope there is a part 2, cause there are some decent characters, good acting and does warrant a sequel. 50 as a Hit-man is a dope idea and could make a big budget movie franchise. Well done Fif! PS> Lloyd banks as a teacher was hilarious. But where was yayo and WHOOO KIDDDD? On a side night - saw 2012 last night and the main character's name is JACKSON CURTIS...Yep who would have thought John Cusak playing CURTIS, JACKSON. lol.
I guess when one's music career is not going so well one may be forced to find other outlets for one's creativity.
50 Cent has a lot to learn about film acting, directing, producing.....as a matter of fact, just stay out of it.
To the poor souls who are considering watching this on Netflix:Unless you hate yourself, do not waste your time on this junk.