Get Rich or Die Tryin’ Studio: Paramount Home Video Year: 2006 (2005 Release) Rated: R (strong violence, pervasive language drug content, sexuality and nudity) Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 enhanced for 16x9 displays Audio: English DD 5.1; English DD 2.0 surround; French 5.1 surround Subtitles: English; Spanish Time: 116 minutes Disc Format: DVD-9 Case Style: Keep case DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006 I believe 50 Cent is a lie. When 50 burst on to the scene a couple years ago, he appeared as a savior for the current state of the gangsta rap scene. Here’s a young performer who had a rough childhood (his mother was a crack dealer), and he then began following in his mama’s footsteps by selling drugs himself. Due to some…questionable business practices, 50 took nine bullets during an attempt on his life. He has an epiphany and decides “the life” just isn’t for him anymore, so he pursues his lifelong ambition to be a rap star. 50 showed enough talent to get a record deal and he sells a bajillion (well, roughly 6.5 million, actually) debut records, thanks to the hit single, “In Da Club”, as well as an earlier hit track on the “8 Mile” soundtrack. Oh, yeah, and Eminem calls 50 his favorite rapper. MTV, being the good little lapdogs to the labels, begins heavily promoting 50. The kids are also digging it, making 50 a TRL regular. Mainstream magazines such as “Entertainment Weekly” devote three page stories to him, and cover him on almost a weekly basis, due to the chart busting sales and the thug lifestyle. Other rappers disavow him, but it only fuels the fire. A biography comes out, a couple more albums come out, even a video game. And, of course, there’s the movie of his life. It’s all just too perfect: the seedy back story, the meteoric rise to fame, the cross pollination of media. Every step 50 makes is paved with $1000 bills. This smells of a media conspiracy of epic proportions designed to make someone (other than 50, but I’m sure he’s included) a boatload of money. It was planned at the perfect time when the rap world had grown a little bored of “shiznizzle” and what the unsuspecting public wanted was a return of the hardcore gangsta rapper. 50 comes packaged to you, the consumer, with a bow on top. There is no such thing as 50 Cent. But enough of my editorializing on 50, you want to hear about the DVD of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”. I have summarized the story of 50’s cinematic alter ego, Marcus, or “Young Caesar", in the first part of the review. The movie only deals with Marcus’ childhood and ascension in the drug world, and it stops just as his rap career is taking off. It features some fine supporting performers: Bill Duke, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Terrence Howard, as well as an acclaimed director, Jim Sheridan. It was also written by one of my favorite “Sopranos” scribes, Terrence Winter. The parts just don’t add up to a complete picture. The pervasive feeling that I was watching a big trick loomed over me while I watched this picture. It’s a very well made movie and each of the supporting performers turn in good performances (Howard especially, as usual). Sheridan does an excellent job bringing Marcus’s story to life. Credit must be give to 50 for turning in not a horrible performance as one may expect, but he just seems out of place. His line readings and dull narrations are tough to decipher through his mumbled enunciations (thank God for subtitles), and I’m assuming it may have something to do with the bullet fragment lodged in his mouth. Or maybe it’s more of the 50 rap. Video: The DVD provides us with an anamorphic, 2.35:1 image. Color detail is good, showing an urban, gritty feel. Flesh tones were accurate and showed differences between performers. Edge enhancement is virtually non-existent, and there was no film dirt or video noise observed. Blacks are deep and show adequate shadow detail. A good presentation as should be expected with a recent production. Audio: I watched the disc with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It is an open soundtrack that makes fairly good use of the surrounds. All of the channels perk up once the music starts: LFE’s show excellent depth and boom, surrounds provide nice ambient effects and echo. The fronts are clear and precise allowing you to hear the details in the music. Voices are accurate and free of any chestiness. Bonus Material: A Portrait of an Artist: The Making of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”(28:54): Sheridan says he wanted to do an Irish family story with a rapper gangster who has father issues. We see 50 visiting Sheridan’s native Ireland, walking the streets with 50, and Irish kids flocking to him. There are production crew comments on 50’s real life and the adaptation. This is a nice behind the scenes doc where we get to see some of Sheridan’s creative process, as well as the mob mentality that follows 50 wherever he goes. Theatrical Trailer Conclusions: Unless you’re a 50 Cent fan, I’m not sure I’d recommend this to you. If you’re interested in seeing how Hollywood can crank out product and sell it as a movie, then you must see this. Oh, and a funny side note, there is no spelling suggestion to correct the word “shiznizzle”.