Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson in Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Get Rich on 50 Cents

As a rule I try to avoid movies such as "Get Rich or Die Tryin'", with the exception of "8 Mile" I find movies which are reportedly about the life of some famous pop star and feature said star in the lead role to be self indulgent pap. The only real reason I put myself through the story of 50 cent is that it landed in my lap and as with any movie which comes my way I tend to try and watch them. Unfortunately "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" does nothing to alter my opinion of this sort of movie but re-enforces my feeling that popular performing artists rarely can make it as a movie star.

Reportedly to accurately cover the life of Marcus Jackson aka 50 cent, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" starts with Jackson having completed a robbery on a drug gangs illegal operation finds himself on the wrong end of a gun as he ends up being shot several times. What follows is that the movie enters a flashback type mode where we learn about Jackson's under privileged childhood, the murder of his own drug selling mother and his entry into the criminal world where he quickly makes his name as a clever and fast worker as he rises the crime ladder. We are also introduced to his passion for hip-hop and the love of his life Charlene, before the movie returns back to the shooting at the start of the movie.

Bill Duke and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Theoretically "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" should be a good movie; it tells a story of someone who has managed to make something of their life despite their less than privileged childhood and so should fall into the category of being inspirational. Sadly it never attempts to condemn the manner in which 50 cent achieved his journey which included various crimes including selling drugs and robbery. I just can't find a storyline which in many ways says "look, this is what I had to do" without saying how bad it is that inspirational. It's very much the same issue I had with the more recent but very similar "Notorious" which being about another famous rapper is open to numerous comparisons.

What I will say is that although I disagree with the way "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" doesn't condone Jackson's criminal activities it does show what an eventful life he has lead. Although I am sure there has been some over dramatization of certain aspects of his life, the fact his mother died when he was a child and he never knew his father makes for the basis of an interesting movie. Even his life of crime is in many ways interesting and at times quite brutal, although what seemed a little like a homage to "The Godfather" also a little cheesy.

Probably the biggest issue for me is that 50 Cent just doesn't have what it takes to lead the movie, even if it is his own story. You would think that someone who had been through the various scenes would be the best person for the job but in this case it just doesn't work. The biggest problem for me is that 50 Cent's delivery of his lines feels too unnatural as if he has to think before speaking rather than letting it flow and unfortunately all the emotional scenes feel very forced. It just doesn't work for me and probably because he was to close to the subject matter to be impartial over his own performance.

What also doesn't help is that with a cast which features Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Majestic and Terence Howard as Bama, 50 Cent is in the presence of more able actors and in every scene he is out classed and out performed. Not that their performances were brilliant but were a cut above 50 Cents'.

What this all boils to down to is that I am sure that for many, most likely those who appreciate 50 Cent's brand of music will find "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" a decent movie and may find inspiration from his story. But for me it didn't deliver what I hoped for and in comparison with "8 Mile" and it comes a distant second.