It’s been obvious for some time that Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson really, really, really wants a movie career. Starting all the way back in 2005– where the rapper-turned-thespain debuted in Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (a poor attempt to recreate Eminem’s success with 8 Mile)– Jackson’s been doing his damndest to be accepted as an actor…with very few results that one might deem “successful”. Since Get Rich, Jackson has starred in about 10 different films, and none of them have been memorable. Would he break that run with Jason Hewitt’s Blood Out, where he co-stars with Val Kilmer? Or would Blood Out be just another Righteous Kill? Find out after the break, folks…
For whatever reason, musicians always want to be actors, actors always want to be musicians, comedians always want to do drama, and “real” actors always want to be considered funny. The reasons behind these not-so-secret urges are best left to the psychiatrists of the world, but if I were forced to venture a guess as to why Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has been trying so damn hard to be an actor over the past half-decade, I’d guess it’s because being on-camera allows the dude to put his movie-star good looks (not to mention his considerable physique) to better use: when you’re listening to 50 Cent in your car, you can’t tell that he’s 100 times better-looking than Ja Rule. You can’t tell that he’s ripped like Rambo. You just hear him prattling on about fat kids, cake, and bitches…and who wants to do that forever?
Plus, look what Fiddy’s friend Eminem did: he parlayed his successful, critically-acclaimed turn in 8 Mile into…well, Eminem didn’t really do any movies after 8 Mile, but the gossip columns sure like to talk about how he “might be” doing one soon, and that’s better than nothing, right?
There could be any number of reasons behind Curtis Jackson’s compulsion to get in front of the camera, but they’re all irrelevant once you get down to brass tacks. The only thing that matters is, is Curtis Jackson any good on-camera? Heretofore, his movies– stuff like Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Righteous Kill, and Before I Self Destruct have all been non-starters, but that hasn’t kept Jackson from trying. When he shows up at my house ready to shoot me square in the face for the review that’s about to follow, that’s what I’m going to tell him: “Hey, I admire Curtis Jackson’s drive. He may not be winning over the critics or getting offers for genuinely good movies, but at least he’s willing to put himself out there and chase that dream.” Then Fiddy will shoot me, because Fiddy don’t take no lip from no punk bitches.
You know what else Fiddy don’t do? Appear much in Blood Out. The first two paragraphs of this review probably contain more Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson than Hewitt’s Blood Out does.
See, Blood Out features Curtis Jackson and Val Kilmer prominently on the DVD cover box, but here’s the surprise: they may not be in the movie as much as you’d expect. For the most part, this movie belongs to Luke Goss. Yes, the Luke Goss. Goss stars as Michael Spencer, a cop whose gang-member brother gets killed during a police procedure gone horribly awry (can you say that it’s gone “horribly awry” if a gang member gets shot? Guess it depends on who you ask). Michael suspects that something suspicious is going on with his brother’s death, and so he makes a lot of trouble for his fellow cops– in particular a guy named Hardwicke (Curtis Jackson)– while trying to get to the bottom of the possibly-mysterious murder.
The first thing Michael does is go undercover as a fellow gang member. This process starts with Michael getting a big, scary lion tattooed on his chest (“Rawwr!”), continues with Michael whooping other gang members’ asses, and ends with him attracting the attention of the Assassins’ gang leader (that’s the gang, which apparently always has a few dominatrixes plying their trade at the gang’s home offices). The Assassins are impressed with Michael’s assbeating skills and ridiculous tattoo, so they attempt to recruit him. Before long, he’s insinuated himself into–
Y’know what? I’m betting that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the plot here. Every week, I see the shelves at Wal-Mart and Best Buy when I go on my movie-buying runs, and I see the kind of crowd that goes for the movies like Blood Out. This is the Fast and The Furious crowd, the crowd that enjoys “Backyard Wrestling” DVD’s and dog fighting. This is lowest-common denominator entertainment, paint-by-numbers filmmaking, nothing-original writing, barely-good-enough-to-get-by acting. This is the kind of movie where gangs have elaborate hideouts and sit next to pools, each location overrun with either a) dudes in wife-beaters wearing way too much jewelry over their intimidating tattoos or b) unreasonably attractive women standing around looking sultry (or, in one memorable scene, in full-blown gimp attire).
I’m further willing to bet that there isn’t a single person out there who’s interested in purchasing Blood Out that would bother reading a review for it first: if you care about seeing this movie, you clearly don’t care about filmmaking as an art form. And if that’s the case, nothing I’m going to say is going to change your mind about seeing Blood Out. I bet you’re the kinda cat that sees a cover box, reads a movie title, and makes his movie-watching decisions based on those actions. There’s nothing wrong with being this kind of movie fan– hey, there must be enough of these people to keep the cottage industry that keeps making films like Blood Out alive– but it’s not the kinda movie fan I am, and so…here we are. The man that demands things like “entertainment” and “originality” from the things he wants versus the sub-section of the film industry that exists primarily to excite slack-jawed tough guys who own a lot of movies that prominently feature machine guns in their cover art.
I suspect that many of you are reading this because you wanna know how bad it gets, if Blood Out is the kinda thing you might have fun with if you were to add a case of beer and three of your smartest-ass friends. As a film, Blood Out fails on almost every conceivable level (things I can say that are positive about Blood Out: it looks much better than I expected, appears to have a higher budget than most of these kinda films, and Jackson and Goss don’t completely embarrass themselves), but as a potential “Hey, let’s watch this shit and make fun of it” experience….eh, there’s some potential here, but I’d think you could do a lot better. For the most part, I’d just expect you to be as bored as I was watching the film. I confess that it took me several attempts to get through it, and even then I was forcing myself to keep my eyes on the screen. It’s all just…so…damn…unoriginal…
A note on Val Kilmer: Val Kilmer, what the hell? You and me go way back. I remember when you were a badass. You played Jim-friggin’-Morrison, for God’s sake. You were in Top Secret. You even showed signs of life– much like a flash of light bursting through the cracks in an otherwise completely darkened, collapsed mine– in Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant. And now you’re “starring” (read: occasionally showing up onscreen while seated in a lawn chair by a pool) in stuff like Blood Out. Fire your agent, recommit to the craft of acting, and show yourself some respect, man. This is getting embarrassing for all of us. As of now, you are Hollywood’s Santa Claus: we all used to believe in you, but now we know that it’s just an elaborate, hokey joke being perpetrated on those that don’t know any better.
Look, if Blood Out is the kind of film you normally watch, I guess you might like it. I wouldn’t know, as I don’t tend to watch these kinds of movies. Generally, I stick with stuff that has compelling stories, original ideas, stuff that makes me appreciate the art of filmmaking or stuff that might broaden my mind as a film geek. Blood Out is just pro-wrestling in cinematic form (come to think of it, it’s surprising that a pro-wrestler didn’t star in this film; though, to be fair, they did get Vinnie “I’ll Do Anything For $5” Jones to appear onscreen here). If that’s your thing, it might be worth your time. It certainly wasn’t worth mine.
After this and Yogi Bear, I am considering legal action against Collider.com and its owner/operator.
My grade? D- (because it doesn’t look like it was shot on videotape even though I expected it to).