Never Die Alone

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Never Die Alone
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Never Die Alone is based on the novel by author Donald Goines. The movie stars rapper DMX as a drug dealer known as King David. The self-appointed king is an evil, evil man. He is a drug dealer. He is a womanizer. He is a murderer. He is a liar. He is everything that anyone with a conscience would aspire not to be. King David's dubious past has forced him to flee New York City for the sunny beaches of Los Angeles where he left a trail of death and destruction and now, several years later, he has returned to New York where he must face the drug kingpin he bamboozled years earlier and try to make peace or face the consequences. What King David does not realize is that other transgressions from his past will come back to haunt him in the worst possible way. Never Die Alone also stars David Arquette-Cox as a struggling, alcoholic writer named Paul, who finds a series of tapes David recorded that tell the story of this intolerable man. Michael Ealy plays Mike, an up-and-coming hooligan who has a personal score to settle with the King.

Never Die Alone is one of those movies that will probably be interpreted as being too violent, too graphic and too patronizing of the gangster lifestyle. Yes, it does show these drug dealers and murderers as having lots of money, great clothes, beautiful women and so on. But it also tells us that this glorious lifestyle does not mean much when everyone around you is dead, when you have no friends or family, and when you end up lying on your back, riddled with bullet holes. Never Die Alone is by no means a pleasurable experience. It really does leave you shaking your head and wondering why there are people in our world like this. Or why there is not a better story to be told other than a bunch of coked up criminals running around killing each other. But maybe that is just the point. In a world where violence and crime is sometimes shown as such a glorious event (see Eminem and Snoop Dogg), maybe it is about time some of these jerk-offs who strive to live such a lifestyle will realize that maybe, just maybe, there is not a pot of gold at the end of the criminal rainbow. Perhaps some of these people who are looking to get into a life of crime will see that ending up in a gutter with a body full of bullet holes and nobody really giving two shits about you is not the way to go.

Enough with the preaching though. As for the movie, I quite enjoyed it. It is not the best movie I have ever seen and not the best inner-city gangster movie I have ever seen but it certainly gets your attention and does a good job of keeping you guessing as to where the movie is going and what is going to happen next. There are a few plot developments that I just did not see coming and they made for a few pleasant surprises. DMX was decent in the role of King David - he might have the best gangster voice in the history of movies. His deep, raspy voice is perfect for the role, as was the arrogance he brought to the character. David Arquette is decent. I was surprised to see him in the movie but in all honesty, his role was fairly minor, with very little complicated acting needed to fill the role of the drunk writer who chooses living in a rundown apartment and drinking Jack Daniels over moving in with his gorgeous girlfriend in her downtown apartment. Michael Ealy was also quite good as a young, angry street thug.

Overall, I will say that Never Die Alone is not a movie for everyone. It is violent and shows a lifestyle with which many of us will not empathize. And in some ways, that is the beauty of this movie - the fact that it shows a lifestyle that is often glorified - but not here. There is nothing pretty about Never Die Alone. And if only one person realizes that there is more to life than sex, drugs and rock n' roll, well, then I suppose the makers can be satisfied with a mission accomplished.

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