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Jim Sheridan
50 Cent, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joy Bryant, Omar Benson Miller, Tory Kittles, Terrence Howard
Writing Credits:
Terence Winter

Inside Every Man Is The Power To Choose.

In the vein of semiautobiographical Eminem film 8 Mile, this movie tells the story of an orphan (50 Cent) who rejects his life of street crime and turns to music, becoming a smash success.

Box Office:
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$12.020 million on 1652 screens.
Domestic Gross
$30.981 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 3/28/2006

• “A Portrait of an Artist: The Making of Get Rich or Die Tryin’
• Trailer
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 13, 2006)

After the success of 2002’s 8 Mile, another slightly-fictionalized, thinly-veiled hip-hop biopic became inevitable. 2005’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ follows the same formula. Instead of star rapper Eminem, it focuses of 50 Cent. Instead of respected white filmmaker Curtis Hanson, it uses respected white filmmaker Jim Sheridan.

I don’t think the suits at Paramount were too happy with the main differences between the two, though. Instead of the generally positive notices given to 8 Mile, critics panned Rich. 8 Mile earned a strong 76% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, while Rich saw only 18% of its reviews fall in the “fresh” category. Audiences didn’t warm up to it either. 8 Mile took in a very healthy $116 million, but despite 50 Cent’s popularity, Rich only made $30 million.

So I guess we won’t have to sit through Get Richer or Die Tryiner’. Rich starts with a robbery gone wrong. Marcus (50 Cent) argues with fellow bandit Bama (Terrence Howard) and eventually finds himself shot multiple times by a mystery assailant.

As he lays near death, Marcus reflects on his life. (Don’t all nearly dead movie characters do that?) We head back to the mid-Eighties and meet Marcus as a kid (Marc John Jefferies). He doesn’t know his father, and his slutty mother Katrina (Serena Reeder) usually leaves him with relatives so she can sell drugs and get her freak on. Since this means she can buy him nice shoes, Marcus doesn’t seem to care.

Katrina’s lifestyle leads to her demise, however. That means no more slick sneakers for Marcus, and he blames a Rick James clone named Slim (Leon). Marcus pins a photo of James to his wall and maintains a pact with himself to someday avenge his mom’s death.

In the meantime, he picks up the family business. Marcus starts to sell drugs – to buy himself those much-desired shoes, of course – and pursues this career over the years. He rises in the ranks and gets his own crew. Marcus also reconnects with Charlene (Joy Bryant), a girl he liked in his younger days. They date as Marcus lives his gangster life and also entertains notions of becoming a rapper. The movie follows his attempts to acquire wealth or expire in the process.

When Rich was about to hit screens, I saw a Home Theater Forum member misidentify it as Get Rice or Die Tryin’. I joked about the typo and stated that this was a film in which 50 Cent led a desperate mission to find some Chinese food.

How I wish that were the case, as a flick about ethnic cuisine would be greatly preferred to this misbegotten mess. I’ll be blunt: I loathe 50 Cent. This has nothing to do with his music. While I don’t particularly like rap, I also don’t count myself as a knee-jerk foe of the form. It doesn’t do much for me, but that doesn’t make it worthless.

Instead, I dislike 50 Cent due to his persona and worldview. This is a performer who earned much of his fame due to his criminal past. We’re led to see him as particularly “real” because he got shot a number of times. He also thinks it’s fun when his very young son comes out on stage in a bulletproof vest and curses at the audience. As indicated by the very title of this movie, 50 Cent also clearly thinks that money is more important than anything else; apparently death is preferable to poverty. That’s exactly a positive message to send.

Sorry, but I think none of these things are cool. Getting shot is to be applauded? Joking about that by putting your kid in a bulletproof vest is funny? Glorifying the accumulation of wealth and fame above all else is admirable?

Despite my disdain for 50 Cent, I tried to watch Rich on its own merits as a film. Unfortunately, it has very few. If I try hard to think of positives here, I find my brain starts to hurt. Rich never stands out in a good way.

Instead, it provides nothing more than one-dimensional gangster junk. Oh, the movie wants us to believe it offers depth. Don’t believe it. The characters are flat as pancakes and never develop in any way. The most exploration of Marcus comes from its tepid “mommy was a druggie and daddy wasn’t there” references. Those act as cheap shorthand and the movie never remotely attempts to delve into Marcus’ personality in a more involving manner.

That’s because Rich prefers to go down tried and true paths. It focuses on Marcus’ gangster lifestyle, and I suppose it thinks it offers a gritty examination of life on the streets. It doesn’t, as it just presents the cheesiest aspects of Scarface and New Jack City. This is a formulaic piece of “inner city” crap.

Sheridan shows absolutely no feel for the subject or the territory, and the movie saddles its participants with a wealth of poor lines. Many of these come from Marcus’ idiotic narration, and they often become laughable. Heck, lines like “four niggas dedicated to one thing and one thing only: getting paid and getting laid” don’t even make sense – isn’t that two things? None of the actors escape the shame of the terrible dialogue, though, and the movie provides more than its fair share of unintentional giggles.

Most of the performers overact relentlessly, perhaps in an attempt to draw attention away from 50 Cent. He provides one of the most wooden turns in movie history. He reads every line like it comes from an Ikea manual, and he shows absolutely no personality of charisma. He offers a horribly unconvincing performance as himself.

I never saw 8 Mile, so I don’t know if it’s as good as its reviews suggest. However, I can attest that the critics got it right when they slammed Get Rich or Die Tryin’. A stupid, cheesy attempt to tell the life story of 50 Cent, it’s not even worth a nickel.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Too many concerns appeared here to make this a consistently positive transfer.

Most of the problems connected to sharpness. Partially due to some moderate edge enhancement, the movie suffered from more than a few soft shots. Much of its looked reasonably distinctive, but I thought the movie could be a bit ill-defined. No issues with shimmering or jagged edges popped up, and I noticed no signs of source flaws.

Colors were perfectly acceptable. The movie featured a moderately subdued palette that favored a brownish tint. The colors still looked fairly vivid and distinctive, though. Blacks were deep and firm, and shadows usually offered good definition. Some shots seemed a little dense, but those examples weren’t frequent. Overall, the movie was watchable but failed to become special.

Matters improved with the satisfying Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The soundfield proved engaging. Street scenes demonstrated good scope and involvement, especially during the many segments with gunfire. Bullets zipped around the room and added punch to the mix. Music also demonstrated strong imaging, and the surrounds reinforced the songs and score well.

Audio quality stood out as positive. Speech seemed accurate and distinctive, and I noticed no edginess or other problems. Effects were clean and concise. They suffered from no distortion and demonstrated good low-end. Bass excelled during the movie’s hip-hop songs as well, for they offered strong depth. The score was lively and rich too. I thought the soundtrack worked nicely.

One only major extra appears on this disc. A documentary called A Portrait of an Artist: The Making of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ lasts 28 minutes and 55 seconds. It offers movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We find comments from director Jim Sheridan, actors 50 Cent, Terrence Howard, and Joy Bryant, producers Chris Lighty and Jimmy Iovine, first AD Joe Camp III, 50’s grandparents Beulah Jackson and Curtis Jackson, 50’s son Marquise Jackson, composers Gavin Friday, Maurice Seezer and Quincy Jones, executive producer Daniel Lupi and 50’s friend Andre “Pretty Sha” Hayden. The show looks at the film’s story and its development, the collaboration between 50 and Sheridan, facts and fiction in the script, other facets of 50’s life and career, the movie’s music, 50’s performance, and various production issues.

That synopsis makes “Portrait” sound like a coherent documentary, but it’s more random than that. It offers a vague progression through different parts of the shoot but doesn’t give us a tight look at the film’s creation. Still, it includes some decent notes. I like the looks at the filming and think that we get a smattering of useful elements. It’s inconsistent but moderately interesting.

Along with a trailer for Rich, the DVD includes some ads. We get clips for Aeon Flux, Last Holiday, P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy, Four Brothers, Nick Cannon Presents Wild ‘n Out and Hustle and Flow. These appear in the disc’s Previews area and also start the DVD.

Folks who dislike 50 Cent won’t change their minds if they watch Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and 50’s fans probably won’t get much from it either. A shameless rip-off of other gangster movies, this one suffers from absurd dialogue, bad performances and a general sense of cliché. The DVD presents decent picture with good audio but lacks substantial extras. Maybe someone out there likes this terrible movie, but I can’t imagine why.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7755 Stars Number of Votes: 49
2 3:
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