FOX has released “NEVER DIE ALONE” on dvd. Based on a
gritty novel by
former drugdealer, pimp, heroin addict and all around “bad” guy,
Donald Goines. Goines died a violent death shortly after his books
started becoming popular, but there have only been two film
adaptations of them so far. “NEVER DIE ALONE” stars DMX as “King
David”, an unlikeable dealer returning to New York in an attempt to
redeem himself. But, “King David” is brutally attacked before he can
turn things around. His attack is witnessed by a young writer, played
by David Arquette, in a surprisingly good performance. David doesn’t
want to “die alone” and asks the writer not leave his side. In
return for this favor, he leaves the writer his possessions. These
are made up of tapes on which he reminisces the last ten violent
years of his life. While one would expect what’s to be revealed
would be something to lend sympathy for his character, it won’t come.
“King David” is a despicable, unforgivable person. Director Ernest
Dickinson uses various, sometimes heavy-handed techniques, including
inevitable and necessary flashbacks, to revisit David’s misdeeds, but
somehow, the film is still effective. It’s dreary but always
FOX has released this as a two-sided disc, with the option of
watching the correct 2.35:1 version, with 16:9 enhancement, or
pan&scan version on opposite sides. The grain present on the
letterboxed side matches the theatrical version. Colors are solid and
contrast is excellent, offering fine detail in darker scenes. The
pan&scan verison offers excessive grain, and it’s unpleasant to watch
for this fact alone, let alone the cropping of Dickerson’s well
FOX has presented a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release. It’s
aggressive, offering numerous surround/directional effects. There’s
also prominent bass, enhancing the rap soundtrack. Dialogue is always
intelligible and free from distortion.
FOX has included some extras for this release, including commentary
with Dickerson, writer James Gibson and DMX. It’s a dull commentary!
While Dickerson is interesting, at times, DMX is duller than a plant,
and the writing isn’t that great, so the screenwriter’s opinion can’t
be appreciated. Add to this, there are long passages of silence!
Ignore this commentary!
Some deleted scenes are offered, but all of them were rightfully
excised. A featurette with “Behind-the-scenes” footage is also