By Jack Rico
Rated: R for pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content.
Release Date: 2009-01-16
Starring: Reggie Rock Bythewood, Cheo Hodari Coker
Official Website: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/notorious/
‘Notorious’ is an entertaining musical film that presents a crooked, yet warm life to arguably one of the greatest rappers to ever rhyme into a mic. Music fans of the old school, gangsta and pop rap will be ecstatic as they’ll be provided with 58 tracks to some head boppin’ block rocking beats.
This story takes place in the decade of 80s and 90’s as Christopher Wallace (Jamal Woolard) is seduced by the easy money being made by crack dealers in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. When his mother (Angela Bassett) finds out, she kicks him out of the house accelerating his criminal exploits. Wallace does a quick jail bid and his demo cassette finds it way into the hands of a brash record exec named Sean “Puffy” Combs (Derek Luke), and a rap phenomenon is born.
Even though it provides a cinematic diversion, Notorious is by no means Eminem’s 8 Mile. It’s the same rags to riches story, but this one lacks a director such as Curtis Hanson to give it grit with an artistic vision.
Notorious is produced by Wallaces’ mom and Sean Combs, so it isn’t fully objective. One element that wasn’t explained very well was the puzzling rivalry between Tupac and Biggie. Even after the murder scenes, we’re still left as flummoxed about what happened as we did in real life.
Nevertheless, rap fans should have fun with this movie and the great soundtrack that accompanies it.