Never Die Alone

2004

Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

75
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 25%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 61%
IMDb Rating 5.7 10 5140

Synopsis


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 4 / 10

Downbeat revenge drama

Considering DMX's previous movie fare – which typically paired him with martial arts stars – I was expecting this to be an action flick. Well, in some ways it is – there are a ton of bloody shoot-outs and it partly follows the classic revenge drama formula – but in other ways, NEVER DIE ALONE surprises, exploring DMX's character in some detail and taking a downbeat look at the life of a drug dealer. DMX takes a role a little heavier than he's used to, and he's very good in the part, a really hateful character that you can nevertheless understand. The supporting cast is also pretty good, excepting David Arquette, who's hopeless as usual.

Sadly, NEVER DIE ALONE's subject matter is ultimately depressing, whilst the revenge drama is just too clichéd to be any good. The only good scene in the whole movie is the bit where a thug finds himself distracted by dollar notes which come floating down the alleyway towards him – an original and fun moment in a film otherwise devoid of laughter.

Reviewed by Matt Kracht 6 / 10

Low budget, gritty crime drama.

Slight spoilers.

The most obvious comparison is Scarface, of course. Scarface was an interesting movie, because it took a rather uncompromising, unglamorous look at a repugnant character -- one who had been glamorized in numerous other movies. The greatest pity is that some people STILL managed to view Scarface in that glamorous light.

Never Die Alone runs with that. It tempts you to empathize with the protagonist, a drug dealer who has been talking about redemption, righting his past wrongs, paying his dues, and making things right. The movie opens with his death, which is revealed to be brutal and arbitrary. However, as you learn about the man's life, you come to hate him, realize that he's a monster, and all his talk of "redemption" is just bullshit. King David is a despicable sociopath, and watching him ruin the lives of everyone else in the movie is not an easy thing.

It's a powerful story, but there are some problems. First, it's a bit preachy. Second, the pacing can get a bit slow at times. The sex scenes, in particular, struck me as a bit boring. The brutality may bother some sensitive viewers. It's not the violence itself that's so disturbing; rather, it's that the violence is depicted realistically. There are consequences to the actions taken, and they are far-reaching, rather than the traditional Hollywood consequence-free violence that solves every problem. Many people have criticized the acting, but I thought it was fine. The directing wasn't exactly inspired, but I like Dickerson. His style isn't artistic or showy, and I doubt he'll ever transcend his B-movie roots, but his gritty, retro-blaxploitation influences work for me.

Reviewed by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews 6 / 10

Run of the mill

"King" David(DMX, who's... a better rapper than he is an actor; in general, the performances are "fine" or worse), a charming scumbag(who does genuinely possess both qualities), returns to pay his debts to Moon, the dealer he screwed over, among others(and to narrate this entire thing, as his exploits in LA are shown in flashback). Only it's too late. He's done too much to just "make amends", and he doesn't realize in time. His return sparks a series of events involving both of the aforementioned, and Mike, who works for the latter and is very protective of his sister. You can somewhat figure out a number of the places this story of revenge and karma goes, but at least it does take itself seriously, keeping to the bleak tone throughout. The environment is brutal and unflinching. There's essentially no likable characters in this, just degrees of despicable. That's intentional, it's part of the approach, but it does make it a straining viewing experience. At least it does keep to a nice pace and it gets going immediately. It's pretty tense and exciting. This is largely realistic and psychologically credible. The hand-held cinematography is quite good(and immersive), if the occasional 90 degree angle turn is off-putting. There is a lot of graphic, bloody violence, disturbing content, strong language and direct sexuality in this. The DVD comes with an informational and interesting commentary track(with the star, director and screenwriter), 10 minutes of "meh" deleted scenes, a 5 and a half minute decent making of featurette, trailers for Inkasso, Saw, Paparazzi, The Machinist, Af Banen, Hotel Rwanda, Merchant of Venice, A Home at the end of the World and this. I recommend this to fans of gruesome ghetto dramas. 6/10

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