Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Film)Rating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Imani A. Dawson

Thanks to his colossal debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and commercial omnipresence, everyone knows the saga of 50 Cent. The real challenge of his Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (MTV Films/Paramount) film is to weave humanity into “Fiddy��s” mythical journey from small time hustler to bullet-riddled superstar. Despite the assistance of celebrated director Jim Sheridan, a winner of two Academy Awards, and a talented supporting cast, Curtis Jackson the man fails to come through on screen, leaving the audience with what amounts to a feature length music video.

Marcus, 50’s film alter ego, is left orphaned after his drug dealing but glamorously feminine mother is brutally murdered in their small apartment (there are no traces of the hardcore lesbian mom that the rapper candidly portrayed to the media.) Forced to move in with his grandparents, the youngster’s rebellion and anger is palpable. Actor Marcus John Jeffries’s portrayal of young Marcus renders the character real in a way that 50 never does.

As Marcus, the only emotion that 50 can convincingly convey is anger, anger at his grandparents, at his crew and at the world. When Marcus’s brash street antics land him in jail and eventually in solitary confinement after a brutal shower fight scene, a guard tosses him a razor blade, delivering the implicit message that Marcus should kill himself. Never does 50’s performance ever illuminate the tumultuous emotions that his character should be feeling in the hole, even with him narrating. There is no moment of heart racing fear that Marcus might actually be contemplating suicide-only the certainty that his character has the brute strength necessary to overcome anything.

Everything comes easy to Marcus, even in the midst of his struggle to change his life from gangster to rapper. He easily wins his girl Charlene, played by Joy Bryant, who seems too good for Marcus despite his street success and their childhood friendship. Charlene’s unquestionable loyalty and almost conflict free acceptance of his lifestyle isn’t realistic, particularly because she’s managed to escape the hood’s desperation. Bryant’s Charlene is way too smart to remain with such a thug-even if the sexual chemistry is crazy.

Marcus is virtually untouchable as the film’s hustling hero. He robs a high level rival drug organization with no repercussions and is basically left to his own devices after an attempt by his former affiliates to kill him goes awry. Though he relied on drug money as his sole source of income, after he goes straight, we never see him struggle to pay for anything from studio time to pamper money. Even his post-shoot out blacklisting at record companies seems inconsequential; 50 and his crew simply decide to start dropping mixtapes. Young Caesar (Marcus’s rap moniker) is then immediately embraced by the streets. When the film draws to a close and Young Caesar/50 Cent the legend is born, nothing seems extraordinary about his rise to fame except its predictability.