Back in the Day Release Date: 3 November 2005 (Iceland) Genre: Crime|Drama Director(s): James Hunter Writer(s): James Hunter & Michael Raffanello Starring: Ja Rule, Ving Rhames, Tia Carrere, Pam Grier, Tatyana Ali Direct-to-video isn’t so much of a dirty word anymore. Up until the 21st century came around, theatrical stars did not touch direct-to-video unless […]

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Back in the Day
Release Date: 3 November 2005 (Iceland)
Genre: Crime|Drama
Director(s): James Hunter
Writer(s): James Hunter & Michael Raffanello
Starring: Ja Rule, Ving Rhames, Tia Carrere, Pam Grier, Tatyana Ali

Direct-to-video isn’t so much of a dirty word anymore. Up until the 21st century came around, theatrical stars did not touch direct-to-video unless their career was on a downswing. These days, however, international distributors demand more; more action, more stars, and more films that look professional. As a result, companies like Nu Image and DEJ are tapping actors like Wesley Snipes, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ving Rhames for productions that everyone involved knows is for the video market.

It came as no big surprise when Ving Rhames and Ja Rule, both of whom were certainly paid well and received a nice vacation to Puerto Rico, signed on for Back in the Day. It also doesn’t come as too big of a surprise that it’s a mundane effort.

Back in the Day sees Reggie (Ja Rule) have to deal with the events that unfold after his father is brutally shot down just fifty feet away from him. Looking for guidance in the world, Reggie turns to street thug J-Bone (Rhames), despite the overacting disapproval from his mother (Grier). When one of their escapades leads to a preacher being shot and killed, Reggie begins to think about his decisions in life. Eventually getting into a relationship with the daughter (Ali) of the man he shot (a plot that’s been rehashed eighty-seven times in the past), the police begin to piece the case together when they get their hands on Reggie’s gun.

Had Back in the Day just stayed focused on one individual story, it wouldn’t be too bad. Much of its time is spent meandering on worthless topics, such as Reggie’s relationship with his sister. It’s aggravating, especially since the main plot isn’t exactly innovative. The twist that comes at the end is pretty ‘out there’ as well.

When it comes to its core story, Back in the Day does a decent job at conveying what’s needed. It’s the unnecessary additions that bring it down a few pegs.

DVD: A behind-the-scenes featurette and a series of cast interviews are included. While the featurette isn’t too bad, it’s hampered by the fact that much of the interview material is repeated.

This is one of the first direct-to-video DVDs to have specialty packaging, as there is a slip-off cover over the DVD case.

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Back in the Day, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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