My boy Russell, a budding Hip-Hop impresario in his own right, actually had this idea first. He wanted to make a feature length film and bundle it with the next release of one of the artist on his label, but unfortunately for my boy Russ, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson beat him to the punch. Mainly because Curtis Jackson is rich and Russ is not. At least not yet. We all hold hope that Russell will get his just deserts soon. That being said with the release of his latest studio album ‘Before I Self Destruct’ we have the feature film of the same name, featuring music from his album and also directed by one Curtis Jackson.
Our film starts with the character of Clarence (Jackson) chasing poor Michael Wright up a flight a stairs before capping his ass. But Clarence wasn’t always a maniac running around the streets of some city in New Jersey shooting people in the face, no sir, he used to be a supreme street balling fool, a solid big brother to his little brother Shocka (Elijah Williams) and a loyal son their mother. A couple of bad things then happen to Clarence which profoundly affects his life direction. First he blows out his knee which effectively ends his promising basketball career and then tragedy hits the boys as a stray bullet ends the life of their hardworking mother.
Now things are pretty bad for Clarence and Shocka as the bills are piling up high, and the refrigerator is getting empty. Clarence soon finds himself out of work and he still burns with the fire avenging the death of his mother with this quest eventually taking the young man to big time bad man Sean (Clifton Powell Jr.) who could use somebody on his payroll who is in dire need of some cash and possesses the ability to kill indiscriminately to tie up the occasional loose end.
Now freshly employed, things aren’t so bad for Clarence and his baby brother who we should mention is some kind of genius as he has jumped from like eighth grade to college level classes in no time flat. Things are less than good for people who Sean needs silenced as Clarence handles his business with extreme prejudice and efficiency. The only thing that could derail Clarence now would be if he met the wrong bitch. Not my words. Say hello to a sexy lady named Princess (Sasha Delvalle) who in the history wrong bitches could be wrongest bitch of all time. Roll credits because we don’t want to be the one who spoils it for you.
‘Before I Self Destruct’ turned out be a surprisingly entertaining film even though, to be kind, Curtis Jackson isn’t a film director. At least not yet. There are certain elements in the film that an experienced film director wouldn’t have allowed to seep through such as the flat and sometimes seemingly non existent lighting, the odd and inconsistent use of certain camera angles or actors who stare into the camera and might stutter on a line or two are just a few of the cinematic transgressions that 50 Cent the film director allowed to slide on by. What Curtis Jackson does happen to be, not surprisingly, is a very effective story teller.
Jackson does a good job of creating a character who realistically progresses from just below nothing to becoming a little bit of something, and while the character of Clarence’s actions were deplorable, they flowed within the structure of the story and as such whatever sympathy you might’ve had for Clarence before he became a killer you don’t lose it after he becomes a killer. Morally speaking this is probably not a good thing but thematically speaking is does work. Now I gotta point out that I’ve spent some time in the Tri-state area and I’ve never seen as much broad daylight, police free murder as I’ve seen in this particular movie. I don’t how good of a hitman Clarence actually was since his technique consisted of walking up to people, gun all out in the open, and shooting them in the face in broad daylight, but we’ll go ahead and roll with it.
The movie also had some pretty decent humor to it, the main actors, those being Jackson and Clifton Powell, were uniformly good though some of the other performers didn’t come off nearly as well. And while Curtis Jackson might not have learned how to direct a movie yet he made damn sure that he gave himself a rather lengthy love scene with his sexy starlet Sasha Delvalle, in addition to sticking in a completely gratuitous girl on girl scene in the middle of his movie. I can’t direct a movie either but I would’ve had the good sense to do that to.
‘Before I Self Destruct’ is flawed and at times amateurish but it still draws you in with its well told story.
Note: I included this picture of big booty model Angel Luv, who made a brief but memorable appearance in this movie only because I had just watched and reviewed the movie ‘Subtle Seduction’ which had big booty model Buffie ‘The Body’ Carruth amongst it cast and I found a way to stick a picture of her in the middle of that review. If I’m not mistaken I’m required by law to give equal time to big booty models who show up in movies I watch. If I’m not mistaken.