Rapping as 50 Cent, Curtis Jackson is a hip-hop king. But acting out a fictionalized, sanitized version of his life in Get Rich or Die Tryin', Jackson loses his throne. The emotions Eminem brought to 8 Mile are buried in Jackson's stubborn impassivity as Marcus, an orphan of the drug wars. The idea of Fiddy teaming up with Irish director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) was just nuts enough to pay off. Sheridan, working with a script by Sopranos house writer Terence Winter, connects with the family elements as young Marcus (Marc John Jefferies) uses rap to express himself. But when Jackson takes over, feelings go numb. The film is shockingly light on music and heavy on crime scenes that play as bogus. Considering that Jackson himself was shot nine times, you have to ask the question William Hurt raised in A History of Violence: "How did you fuck this up?"
From The Archives Issue 328: October 16, 1980