Directed by: Ernest R. Dickerson
Starring: DMX, David Arquette, Michael Ealy, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Clifton Powell
This movie is 82 minutes in length, which is about 80 minutes too long.
I didn't walk out because the opening shot was of miserable, sleazoid drug dealer "King" David (hip-hop artist DMX) in his coffin, since I wanted to make sure the film ended with the same shot after it spiraled through the character's increasingly disgusting flashbacks. It did. And that was the only good thing about this piece of trash.
Several critics on the planet have given complimentary reviews to this thing. They note the movie's seeming complexity and nonlinear drive, and the fact that it's based on a novel by prolific convict-turned-writer Donald Goines, who is an icon to many urban readers. Big deal. No pseudo attempt at being creative can erase the fact that Never Die Alone is morally repugnant.
DMX uses all his good looks and charisma to portray a man who cold-bloodedly destroys anybody unlucky enough to come near his aura. The only justice in the movie, if there could be said to be such a thing, is the fact that DMX's character is killed by a young thug (Michael Ealy, Barbershop) who, in the Freudian twists of the heavy-handed plot, turns out to be the son he fathered many years ago.
David Arquette (Stealing Sinatra) plays Paul, a Hemingway wannabe who sneaks into the noir parts of town to find gritty real-life stories to write about. In a burst of Good Samaritanism that surprises him as much as it does the audience, Paul takes a dying "King" David to the hospital, thus earning the sleazoid's drug mobile and the cassette tapes that tell his life story. (Life story? Life? All this guy is about is crushing life.) Complications occur, including the systematic killing of most of the African-American men in the cast.
Along the way, "King" David punctuates his memoir with the women he conned into sharing his bed and then deliberately hooked on heroin. If such an unfortunate ex-lover should be so needy of a fix that she threatens to tell the police about him, it's her death sentence. Sweet "King" David doesn't even wait around to watch his former flings die from the poisoned white powder they shoot up.
I can never understand the women in these movies. If a guy dresses like a creep, talks like a creep, treats you like a creep -- girlfriend, hear me loud and clear -- the guy is a creep!
Flee while you have the chance.
-- reviewed by Marci Miller