Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I wish I could tell you something other than this was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  I really do wish that, because I was so hoping for this to be entertaining.  Hell, I like a good ‘hood movie as much as anyone and this particular ‘hood flick starred Wood Harris who has done some seriously good work in flicks like 'Remember the Titans', or playing the title character in ‘The Jimi Hendrix’ story and of course his long running role in ‘The Wire.’  Plus he was in the excellent ‘hood flick ‘Paid in Full’ so I was holding out hope for at least a ‘watchable’ hood flick, if they couldn’t manage a good one.  Sadly, the only thing good I can say about ‘4 Life’ is that in an effort to limit our pain the editor of this thing cut it to a scant 76 minutes, and even that seemed too long, but if he cut it any shorter then it wouldn’t have qualified as a feature.  Mr. Editor, I appreciate your effort.

Our film begins with who I think is Wood Harris’ character of Dayvon narrating about the streets of B-more.  I think its Wood Harris but couldn’t be sure because it sounded like he was talking with a sock over the microphone.  Anyway Dayvon pulls up in his Titan rolling on 24 dubs and stops in at a strip club.  He stays there for a while, gets a lap dance from his girl Jare (Elise Neal) and then they are off for some McLovin’.  Now once they get in the house they make out for a while with the focus being on Wood Harris’ bare back.   They then cut back to the strip club and then back to this couple with more focus on Wood Harris’ back as we are to assume this couple is having sex since it kind of looks like Jare is bouncing up and down though Wood Harris’ bare back fills most of the screen.  Apparently Elise Neal had a pretty airtight no nudity clause in her contract because she doesn’t even get naked in the strip club that she works at, which is just a crying shame.  Voluptuous though she may be, if I’m casting a movie with a character who’s supposed to be stripper, then I’m casting somebody who understands that strippers get naked.  Watching Elise Neal is tight skirts was cool and all but I’m thinking a stripper should strip.  Just thinking.

This fake screwing goes on for about fifteen minutes and I’m wondering when is the actual movie going to start?  So far it’s just fake sex, strip clubs and shots of nice trucks driving the down street – which continues for another 10 minutes.  Finally, Dayvon goes to the jail house to visit his boy Ty (Page Kennedy) to say hello and tell him he’s leaving the game.  Ty gets all upset and calls Dayvon all kind of bitches and the like and then for some reason calls a hit on Dayvon’s girlfriend Jare’, who is pregnant by the way.  So while his girl is getting pumped full of bullets we get see Wood Harris’ bare back some more while he has fake sex with his underwear on with some girl named Sheri (Vatecia L. Little) who also has an airtight no nudity clause.  All upset that Ty tried to kill his girl (she survived) and snuffed out his seed (his words, not mine) he goes and blows away Ty’s girl, who he was screwing while Ty was in jail anyway, and I assume he kills his 10-year old son too. Then it’s gets weirder as Ty gets out of jail and other stuff happens, then Dayvon says he’s out of the game and the credits roll.

They say that this was based on a novel by one Thomas Long called Thug Life, but I’m thinking it was a loose translation at best as I’m sure the novel had more to say than this film did.  This thing was almost incomprehensible as it just floated around doing nothing and then suddenly throwing in everything.  There was no rhythm to the narrative, no feel to the story, none of the characters had any authenticity and the plot was virtually non-existent.  Where it not for the fact that every single actress in this movie was remarkably good looking, there would be absolutely nothing to recommend in this movie, unless you’re a dude who digs nice rims on trucks.  The main thing I got out of this movie was an intimate knowledge of Wood Harris back.  Man, if Wood Harris committed a crime and was running away from me with his shirt off, I’d be like ‘Oh shit, that’s Wood Harris right there! Somebody call the Police!’

Did I mention that all of the actresses in the flick were really good looking?  For shame Director Tony Austin for having access to a really good actor, hot women, nice cars riding on dubs and to have a created something as poor as this.  For Shame!

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