Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So I’m watching this movie ‘Confessions of a Thug’ and the main character of South Boy, played by writer / director Daron Fordham, who looks like a miniature version of Shaquille O’Neal, is sitting in a prison greeting room while being interviewed by a reporter named Nila Brown played by the lovely Angel Tyree. South Boy drifts off and starts to day dream and without warning Nila is topless, wearing a pair of black panties or something similar that’s two sizes two small and is performing a gyrating lap dance for South Boy while a breeze from unknown origin blows through her curly hair. Allow me to tell you that this scene was completely inappropriate and gratuitous and really had no place in this movie… and damn if I didn’t wish South Boy would have drifted off and started daydreaming just a couple more times. I’m wishing he’d drift off right now and I’m nowhere near my TV set. Hooray gratuitous nudity and female exploitation! Particularly when they look like Angel Tyree.

‘Confessions of a Thug’ is a hip-hop musical, no joke, and it opens with this interview between the characters of South Boy and Nila Brown with South Boy describing to us in detail how he got the point he is now. You see South Boy was a player in ‘The Game’, and so often when folks have been in the game for a while, eventually they want to get out of the game. South Boy isn’t your average player though as he has some advanced schooling behind him and he also makes it a point to take care of his children, though he doesn’t get to see them as often as he would like to.  But just because South Boy wants to pave his way out of the game doesn’t mean he’s half stepping while he’s in the game as we see how he handles his business with brutal efficiency, taking out even trusted family members if they mess up and cross him wrong. Trouble comes for South Boy when one of his soldiers gets clipped in Florida and South Boy trusted him to maintain his cool.  His mentor, Italian mobster Vic Torino (John Martino), warned him to keep an eye on this cat but he didn’t listen close enough which has landed him in the Federal Joint for a 48 month stretch, and that’s where his story with the pretty reporter ends.

His story begins again once he’s out on the street and finds out that everything he knew has changed. His girl has betrayed him, Vic is dying, his friends are no more and he’s flat broke. Fortunately his babies mama Cabeera (Valerie Jones) has the kindness of heart to take him in while he gets back on his feet and tries to go on the straight and narrow, but the call to get back into the game is a loud one. Reunited with his old crew which consists of his right hand man X (Shawn Robinson), his executioner Yayla (Aaliyah Madyun) and his dog from prison Miguel (Ben Affin), South Boy is back in business, against the wishes of his girl Cabeera, but this time swearing to get out once he gets enough money and gets his revenge on those that did him wrong. But South Boy will learn the hard way that the time to get out of the game is usually just before the last job, not after the next job.

Shock would be a word to describe how much I ended up enjoying watching ‘Confessions of a Thug’. I mean it’s a Hip Hop musical for the love of God. Considering I have almost no love most modern Hip Hop and even less for the throng of poorly made gangsta flicks, I’m no less than stunned how good this movie turned out to be. But then I shouldn’t be surprised at all because the key words here are ‘poorly made’, and ‘Confessions of a Thug’ was well shot, well acted, had a decent story to tell and told it in a unique an innovative way. Considering the last Hip Hop album I paid good money for was ‘Foundation’ from the Brand Nubians back in 1998 I really have a hard time listening to this new stuff but the music in ‘Confessions of a Thug’ was very good, and made all the better in that I could understand every single word that was coming from the rappers mouths, plus each song furthered the story line just as the music should do in a musical. ‘Money Changes Shit’ is still playing in my head even as I type this.

The most important factor in this movie succeeding or failing will rest on the shoulders of Baby Shaq because if Daron Fordham can’t sell us on South Boy as a legitimate character then the movie fails because he’s virtually in every single scene. Good news because the kid can act, which means I have to stop calling him Baby Shaq because if the real Shaq could act half as well as this young man could then ‘Kazaam’ might have been tolerable. Or not.

This isn’t to say the movie is perfect as the story gets a little outlandish at times and often stretches the limits of plausibility to its breaking point, and the movie does run about ten minutes too long and could have been tightened up a bit. The majority of the actors did well but some of them struggled with their lines at points but ultimately the only thing that matters to me is the bottom line, and the bottom line in relation to ‘Confessions of a Thug’ is that I enjoyed watching it, gratuitous nudity and all. Daron ‘South Boy’ Fordham obviously has some serious ability when it comes to making films, considering what he was able to pull off with what I’m guessing is less than a monster budget, and has me curious as to what the young man might be cooking up next.

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