|Director Mario van Peebles|
I know very little about 50 Cent. I know he's from my neck of the woods in Queens, and that he got shot a number of times either prior to or during his rap career, but other than that I couldn't identify any one of his songs to save my life. I came into this movie willing to give him a chance as an actor, however, even though I wasn't convinced he was much of one. And to his credit, he came to it with a remarkable level of commitment. I suspect he always was physically fit, but as a football star, he's really built - and then, according to MVP in the Q-and-A after the film, he went on a liquid diet and lost a fair amount of weight in order to show the ravages of cancer on his body. As a result, he does look like he's suffering and in pain.
A dramatic weight loss for a role, however, does not turn 50 Cent into Christian Bale. Without having seen any of his other films, I'd be willing to bet that this is his best performance. He cries on cue, at least. Ultimately, however, I didn't believe him. His range is still painfully limited; his face is wooden when it should be expressive and his voice tends to remain at the same level. In fact, something about his voice is off-putting when he acts; you can tell he hasn't been formally trained as an actor, unlike someone like Dustin Hoffman, whose voice also seems off-putting at first. 50 Cent gives it a game effort - there was a moment or two in which I wanted to believe him - but he still doesn't quite reach that level.
|Co-writer, co-producer and star 50 Cent, with Van Peebles|
MVP, in attendance with his filmmaker father Melvin van Peebles as co-ambassadors of the Urbanworld Film Festival, talked about independent film in general and the need for quality black films to reach people, not just through better distribution, but through word of mouth as well.
Previously from the Urbanworld Film Festival: