"Brothers in Arms" is the latest in the sub-genre of 'hip-hop westerns', which stills strikes me as a great idea, but has yet to be realized into something more worthy than direct to video fare (Wild Wild West included). This film doesn't change that. It does have passable performances from Gabriel Casseus and Raymond Cruz to off-set the outright horrible ones of Antwon Tanner and Kenya Moore. Better than average (at least for direct to video) cinematography is overshadowed by the stale production design, dismal writing, dead action sequences, and repetitive stock hip-hop music. Hip-hop could hack it in a western, just hear T-Bone Burnett's work with the Nappy Roots in "The Ladykillers" and imagine the possibilities. But here, it's a complete distraction. How Jean-Claude La Marre ever nabbed David Carradine for this, I can only guess, but he does as good a job as anyone could've done with the writing and, in this kind of wreck, professionalism is the most you could ask for.
The last 5 minutes are so pretentious and melodramatic, they border on unwatchable. Please, save the song for the credits next time. If you want the scene to be powerful, give us a character that we have a reason to care about.
Here's to the next effort in this sub-genre, may it be something deep and resonant... Ernest Dickerson, where are you when we need you!
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