New DMX film isn’t for the dogs

As God aptly put it, “we reap what we sow,” and that’s exactly the attitude that DMX’s new character, Kind David (oh, the irony) takes.

In Never Die Alone, DMX plays a gangster who wants to set things straight upon his return to New York.

On his way into the city, he talks about karma and how everything that goes around comes around.

Soon after agreeing to settle his debts with a local drug lord called Moon, David is stabbed to death by one of Moon’s lackeys.

David gets to a hospital with the help of Paul (David Arquette), but dies soon after he arrives.

He gives Paul all of his belongings, including a pimped out Caddy, some bling-bling and a copy of the Bible.

At the beginning, the quality of the plot is slightly questionable.

But, as the movie progresses, the quality of not only the story, but also the entire film improves considerably.

The bulk of the story is told in flashbacks: Hidden in the Bible are tapes with David’s autobiography, which he recorded on his way to NYC. Paul discovers these tapes and listens to them intently as he tries to discover the true reason behind David’s death.

The movie is directed by Ernest Dickerson, a long time cinematographer for Spike Lee (whose influence is clear).

The camera angles take full advantage of the movie’s wide screen format and the sharp contrasts between New York’s shadows and Los Angeles’ sun flooded scenery accentuate the mood shifts.

The film is rendered in a gritty way, which at first seems pretentious but actually fits in well with the style, achieving the desired effect.

There are times at which the movie tumbles into cliché pitfalls of fake irony and unsubtle humor.

The plot twist isn’t incredibly surprising but is instead quite believable. And the karma philosophy, which begins the film, makes a full circle to resolve itself by the film’s end.

Never Die Alone’s plot sometimes becomes typical of rapper-starring-gangster films but quickly rescues itself with well-executed visuals and prolonged camera shots.

The acting part is truly left unfulfilled in this film. A few good performances by the supporting cast carry the film, but its main stars — DMX and Arquette — are mediocre in their characters’ portrayal.

While the film is certainly just another addition to an overflowing genre, Dickerson’s eye brings out more than expected in a somewhat cliché tale of drugs, sex and revenge.