Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plays a hotshot college football player is at the cusp of making a big move to the NFL and riches when he collapses in the locker room due to a tumor growing in his chest, near his heart. Having to undergo cancer treatments, he loses his ability to play and must start again without all the advantages being a star came with.
It is sometimes hard to sympathize with a character he is so egotistical, and used his status to take advantage of other people, but he is undeniably a victim. Not only was he facing a lethal illness, but most of his family and friends treated him like a living lottery ticket. Of course, losing that ego is all a part of the all-too obvious character arc and life lesson’s we are supposed to witness in this film. I spoil nothing by stating that he does indeed go through this crushing lesson in humility. While regaining strength after chemotherapy treatments, he just reconnect with his family members and find a way to earn a decent living. What unfolds would do the LIFETIME network proud. Tears are shed, fists open up for hugs, and the film lingers on at least 20 minutes longer than it should so that everyone can celebrate family for the sake of celebrating family.
The dramatic weight of the film falls mostly on shoulders of 50 Cent (I choose to use his rap moniker because, in my eyes, he has yet to escape that character before he can portray another) and despite how physically fit he is (making him a convincing while playing football), his characteristic mumbling is distracting and only exemplifies the fact that he does not quite have the acting chops to carry this film. The performances of Lynn Whitfield, Ray Liotta and Mario Van Peebles (who also happens to be the director) are very strong and offer up enoughs support to make this film bearable, but even they cannot charm their way through a mediocre (bordering on awful at times) script.
Peebles, as the film’s director, fumbled when it came to getting convincing settings and extras. Sometimes all it would take was a badly staged setting or a character with only one line of dialogue delivering it so unnaturally that it would throw off the vibe of an entire scene. Greater efforts should have been made to ensure this film had quality in all parts, and not just focusing on getting 50 Cent more time to smile and show his abs.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture quality is pretty fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised that such efforts were made to make such a below-average film appear so clean and well transferred. The backgrounds are just as crystal as the foreground, when the director intends, and nothing is lost between close ups versus long shots.
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. 50 Cent’s mumbles aside, the sounds is pretty clear. The music sounds good but always sits on top of any scene, thus having to trade places with moments of dialogue in lue of blending.
Subtitles available in English and Spanish.
50 Cent’s belief in himself becoming a good leading man is almost as inspirational a plot as that of the character he played in this film…so long as you look past the fact that he got it because his millions of dollars can buy a leading role. He is not the worst rapper turned actor I’ve ever seen, but this is a far cry from baiting any Oscar votes. Suckers for sentiment may find something here, but most will find it to be rather forgettable.