Taken as a satire of the blaxploitation and gangster movie genres, “Never Die Alone” proves hilarious. The trouble is you can tell the laughs here are all purely unintentional, which means that taken as a serious film – ‘Never’ is a whole new level of bad cinema that’s cheap, utterly misogynistic and self-indulgent to a degree that it’s jaw-dropping. This is not your crappy studio gangsta movie ala “Romeo Must Die” or “Cradle 2 The Grave”, oh no – it’s a whole new beast entirely.
The first 40 minutes or so fools you into thinking it’s just another gang warfare film with a former drug kingin getting back to his old East Coast neighbourhood where a rich rival and his goons have marked him for death, as has another guy named Mike for no real reason in particular it seems. There’s violent shootouts in which blood flows, people go flying back from being hit by rifle shots, and so forth. David Arquette is loosely inserted in here as a token white guy but has practically no dialogue, spending most of his time looking like a guy who just got beaten up in a rainstorm.
Then suddenly about 50 minutes in the whole film changes – DMX goes to LA to try and muscle in on the drug trade there with some success. What was before a darkly-shot gritty urban drama becomes a sunny California setting and a whole new film. This is where the nastiness comes in as we spend most of the second half of the film watching DMX pick up a white chick as his ‘bitch’, getting her hooked on coke, causing her to lose her job and life, then unceremoniously dumping her for her black younger female friend whom he proceeds to do the exact same thing too and worse.
Had their been some development of plot or characters here it may have made it workable but ‘King David’ is a charicature at best, lacking any sort of ‘nobility’ he’s supposed to have. That’s not a problem if the actor behind it were strong but DMX plays it surprisingly flat even though this has been the film he’s been desperate to do forever. The rest of the cast are a joke aside from some intense staring from Ealy, whilst the women in the cast are all treated like absolute dirt except for a sassy barlady at the start.
From its convoluted first half of all too much exposition which is ill-handled, to the latter half’s plain offensive treatment of women as purely objects of use for DMX’s swinging cock, it’s so horrifically bad that their is a kind of twisted and morbid sense of fun watching this utter shite because it’s not a flat studio vehicle gone wrong, rather it’s an indictment on those involved for making such a self-serving vanity pic for this three-lettered ‘star’. Horrifically bad but never boring.