Movie: Never Die Alone

Our Rating: 2.00

So is it somehow better to die in the company of a whole mess of people? Arriving at a satisfying answer may be easier than divining just whom this meandering street fable is supposed to be about. At various times, the movie fancies itself the personal odyssey of: King David (rapper DMX), a prodigal dope dealer determined to "set shit straight"; Mike (Michael Ealy), a young enforcer who harbors a longstanding, wholly predictable death grudge against him; and Paul (David Arquette), a fascinated (but hardly fascinating) white writer entrusted with King's audiotaped memoirs.

"He had this nobility," Paul remarks after their brief meeting. That's exactly what we say whenever we see a shaven-headed thug get fatally knifed while standing next to his Stutz.

Exploitative, obvious, redundant, didactic, misogynistic -- those adjectives were invented to describe amateur-hour projects like "Never Die Alone." The movie is actually based on a novel by Donald Goines, but in the hands of hack director Ernest Dickerson (Bones), it's a typical VH-1 gangsta fairy tale, reveling in the conspicuous corruption it pretends to assail.

Hate the playa. Hate the game. Wait for the video.

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