Tapped Out is an independent film starring Georgio. It is also produced, written and directed by Georgio. The film is adapted from a story by Georgio. Oh, and the music supervisor is this guy named Georgio; maybe you’ve heard of him?
Honestly, it doesn’t really mater if you have heard of him or not (though you probably haven’t), my point has already been made. In previous reviews, I have stated my distrust of independent films that put too much power in the hands of one man, especially when that one …an is as obscure as the singularly-named control freak in question. One man can’t do all things on a film set. If too much is attempted, even by A-list personalities, everything they do will suffer. A film is a mass creative effort, and when that sense of collaboration is lost, so are many unique ideas and talents. If a filmmaker can’t trust the professionals around him to do a fine film, he may be in the wrong business.
Another bad movie warning sign for me is when a film full of unknowns has one “name” attached to it. While this certainly lends credibility to a production, there is usually a reason why the credibility was not there on its own. Hollywood is a land of favors, and more often than not, the inclusion of one recognizable name is a sea of misfits serves as a giant red flag that somebody is doing somebody else a favor.
In this case, that flag is rapper Coolio. In this film, Coolio receives top billing, and his face is prominently displayed on the front of the box. What they don’t tell you is that Coolio (whose oh-so-original character name is “Cool” in the film), appears in just six minutes of the movie. Total. Even for the five of you out there that are still big Coolio fans, six minutes of screen time is not enough to warrant seeing this film.
The story follows two aspiring inner-city rappers on their quest for radio gold. They finally get their big break as the result of a wire-tapping machine that one of them has built out of a telephone and a 1995 Apple PowerMac. When they tap into the phone of the local gangster record executive, they hear the next new beat… and sample it for their own song. Token mischief and mayhem ensues, and everybody gets their due in the end.
This film is full of so many inaccuracies that it’s hard to believe this director has spent any time in the real world whatsoever. A recording artist makes millions without a single live performance, murders are committed with no real police concern, the main character has been a victim of circumstance every time that he has been arrested, and every character is a racial stereotype.
This is a horrible film from start to finish. Viewers would be smart to go ahead and tap themselves out of this one. Even by the already low standard of many independent urban films, this one is bad.
The good news is, this disc comes stocked with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The bad news, of course, is that it sounds like the audio comes from an answering machine master. This is a weak track to say the least, with no spatial imaging whatsoever. Dialog is muddled and hard to follow, and frequently gets lost in the distorted music. Volume levels are also problematic, ranging from whisper quiet to painfully intense completely at random. Even the hard-to-mess-up bass notes have problems, as they are as muddled as the trunk of an ’89 Buick Skylark. I halfway expected there to be a license plate included in the box, so I could hang it on my subwoofer for effect. This is one ghettofabulous audio track.
This is not exactly the most blingin’ video presentation, either. I have seen home videos that looked better than this film. In fact, It looks to me like the piece actually was shot on video. The movie is presented in its original full frame format, to capture the vision of the filmmaker. You name the video problem, and this movie has it. Grain is excessive, blemishes are on the negative throughout, and colors are way off. The entire film has a very washed out, silvery look. Colors are dull, and detail is virtually non-existent. Exceptionally bad is the lighting. Some scenes are overrun with light, and thus hard to see. Others, however, are so dark that it is hard to make out the actors’ faces. For the sake of their careers, this may be a good thing.
The only extra included on this disc is a trailer for the film… and even that is poorly done. It appears that the trailer was created specifically for the DVD, as it has no rating screen at the beginning, and it is filled with strong language and nudity. Showing naked breasts and dropping the “F” bomb is typically not a very good way to get your film out in front of the public. Lucky for the public.
If you happen to see this disc while wondering through the video store, you might want to go ahead and plan on watching anything else instead. The film is bad, the presentation is worse, and the extras are virtually non-existent. This disc gives independent film a bad name. That name is Georgio.
Special Features List