Monday, June 02, 2008

Movie Review: Never Die Alone

Never Die Alone
Genre: Action/ Crime/ Drama
Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
Cast: DMX, Michael Ealy, Drew Sidora, Antwon Tanner, Robby Robinson etc

What happens when a drug dealer, outlaw and killer decides to return to his original place and settle scores with his old enemy drug lords? You'd expect loads of gun battles, street fights and action. Well in this movie there is a bit of action and fights but it has lot of drama and spiritual thought. This is one of the first movies I have seen in which there is only one White actor, everyone else is colored (African-American) and what is more surprising is that the entire story talks about Karma and redemption of the Hindu philosophy.

The story starts off with King David (played by DMX) returning to New York from Los Angeles to set right his life and try to correct all his wrongs. He wants to settle all his old scores, pay off debts and try and find his long lost children. Mike (Michael Ealy) is sent by Moon to collect payment from David. After collecting the money, Mike gets into a tussle and stabs David, who in turn sticks an ice pick into Blue's eyes. They kick and hurt David badly and abandon him in a gutter. A failing journalist Paul (David Arquette), who was passing by at that moment, drives David, a total stranger, to the hospital, where he succumbs to his injuries. But before breathing his last, David leaves everything he owns to Paul. The possessions include jewellery, money, car and a set of audio tapes, which contain the audio journal of David's life recorded on the drive from Los Angeles to New York.

Meanwhile Blue and Mike inform Moon about the tussle with David and that he is in the hospital. An angry Moon tells them to come to a parking garage where he sends gunmen to kill them all. In the parking garage gun battle Mike's sister and Moon get killed and Mike goes out baying for revenge. The rest of the movie goes back and forth in time. Partly showing David's past life and then jumping to the present where Mike and Moon are hunting each other. And of course Moon's men are hunting Paul to destroy all evidence that would possible link David's death to Moon.

As Paul listens to the David's audio journals, the life of a drug peddler is unfolded on the screen. After a particularly bad experience in the east, David travels west in search of better fortunes. There he finds a Vietnamese gang who can get him high-quality cocaine. With his smooth charm he finds a new girlfriend Janet (Jennifer Sky), a television star, who squanders her show biz career thanks to drugs and soon becomes sick. David promptly ditches her and with no job or money, Janet becomes David's heroin peddler to pay bills.

David meets a highly talented college student and stunning beauty Juanita (Reagan Gomez-Preston) and falls in love with her. Their relationship goes well, but Juanita tries his drugs. She hurts David's ego by saying that the $250,000 he has stashed away isn't enough to retire on. Angry, David secretly switches her heroin with cocaine, getting her addicted. Meanwhile Janet calls David and demands that he pay for her entrance to rehab or else she'll go to the police. The mention of cops angers David and he decides to do the same thing he did to Edna in New York: Mix drugs with car battery acid, resulting in a fatal seizure for her. Through a flashback, it is revealed that David is actually the father of Mike, Edna's child. Mike is a witness to Edna's killing by David.

Listening to the tapes Paul wonders if the money David talks about in his tapes is indeed hidden in the car. When he checks, he find that it is. But by now Moon's henchman are crawling like insects all over New York searching for him. After some more gun battles and chases in the dark, Mike hunts down Moon and kills him.

Now Paul is listening to the last tape when David talks about leaving Juanita, but she soon comes back, addicted to cocaine and begging for help. He offers to give her cocaine only if she has anal sex. This causes a proud Junaita severe emotional distress and depression and she takes to drugs even more. Juanita threatens to go to cops, if he doesn’t give her drugs.

As one watches the movie, it is hard to understand the movie, it moves too fast and confusingly back and forth in time. The only part of the movie I really liked is the underlying message it tries to communicate to the audience. There is no life in drugs either peddling or consumption. Janet's television career is ruined thanks to drugs, Junaita succombs to drugs even before she could step out of college. Innocent and unconnected, Mike's sister gets killed in a drug battle. And even though David King comes back to settle all scores and retire into a quiet countryside, his past catches up with him and takes his life. Drugs and guns are not the answer to life's problems. Hardwork and integrity are!

Watch the trailer here:

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