Who's in It:
50 Cent, Joy Bryant, Terrence Howard, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
The Basics: 50 is a gangsta trying to leave behind his thug life for a rap career. It's somewhat autobiographical. You probably knew that already.
What's the Deal? Remember Disorderlies, with the Fat Boys? That was a good movie. They were all about messing up old people's IV units and losing people in runaway wheelchairs because they were too busy eating stuff all the time and making you laugh. And, really, which one did you want to watch again; that or Tougher Than Leather? And you know why? Because Run-DMC were not funny hospital workers. If 50 Cent had played a wacky hospital guy, this movie would have been a lot better.
Don't Call It 8 Mile: Because in that movie about a struggling rapper who has to overcome adversity and violence to make it, at least there's some rapping. You get no hip-hop until the bitter end of this thing.
What You Get Instead: A really bleak, dead-end story of pain and crime and murder that you've seen in lots of other movies but that fails in this particular one because the protagonist is detached from his own life. In order for the audience to like him, he has to be in it and above it, and you really can't have it both ways.
Moment of Absolute Crazy: A five-man naked prison-shower knife-fight that looks like a Monty Python sketch with blood. It's kind of worth the price of admission alone just because it's so crazed. It also makes you glad it's not in IMAX 3-D.
Who's Good: Well, sadly, not Mr. Cent. It's not like he's Mariah in Glitter or anything, but he's not quite ready to handle a whole movie on his own in spite of being an interesting presence. His face has a my-feelings-are-constantly-being-hurt quality that could make him a minor-league screen star someday. Meanwhile, the awesome character actor Bill Duke is a gang boss whom you can really enjoy, and Terrence Howard does Buck-Wild Crazy really well.