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DIRECTOR: Mike Gunther
CAST: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Bruce Willis, Ryan Phillippe and Brett Granstaff
RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes
Set It Off was a great film. Four female friends taking on “the system” by robbing banks in pursuit of something other than a life of desolation in the ghetto.
Set Up is not quite on that level, but there are similarities. Like the fact that both films have rappers-turned-actors in lead roles. Queen Latifah in Set it Off and 50 Cent (pictured) in Set Up. Then there is that whole robbing people thing. And here is where Fiddy’s movie takes a drastic left from the one Latifah was in: his friends are actually only out for number one.
If the unlikely friendship between Sonny (50 Cent), the Casanova with a chip on his shoulder, Vincent (Phillippe) and a really nerdy but sweet Dave (Granstaff) seems too good to be true, that’s because it is.
After the trio pull off a heavy operation which required them to steal diamonds worth $5 million, Vincent goes rogue and fatally shoots Dave and thinks he’s done the same to Sonny. Needless to say, the plot turns into a quest for revenge quicker than you can say “go Shorty, it’s your birthday”.
Sonny gets involved with the mob – led by Willis – and things take an interesting turn when he realises things may not be all that black and white once he meets the ex-friend who tried to make Sonny meet his maker too soon.
Honestly, this film is surprisingly gripping. There were plenty of moments that were just unexpected. For one, that Fiddy can actually act. Yes, I know he’s been doing it for a while now, but it seems he’s really got the hang of transforming into character.
This is probably the only time you will see me say in a battle between rapper Common and 50 Cent that my money would be on the latter. That’s if it were an acting face-off, not a rap battle.
But seriously, Fiddy has really come into his own and proved not only to hip hop heads, but to Hollywood, too that he can be placed in a scene with Bruce Willis and hold his own.
The city – Detroit – is used as a metaphor for how desperate the friends are to make it out. For one, it’s winter so everyone is always out in the cold. Read into that what you will. Obviously, it’s the Motor City so the car muscle in the film is something to write home about.
Interestingly, the start of the film harked back to that of Goodfellas. Except instead of: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” we get 50 Cent saying he always wanted to save the world. But now, as reality would have it, he saw the world for what it was and “it wasn’t so much about who I was going to save, but who was going to save the world from me”.
If you liked Set it Off and Goodfellas, you might like this.