The Game is Dead Release Date: 2005 Genre: Crime | Drama Director(s): Shaheed Shaheed Writer(s): Shaheed Shaheed Starring: Shaheed Shaheed, Treach, Aaliyah Hi The Game is Dead is a low budget urban film that is nearly two hours long. As if you weren’t already not going to watch The Game is Dead, that should solidified […]

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The Game is Dead
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Crime | Drama
Director(s): Shaheed Shaheed
Writer(s): Shaheed Shaheed
Starring: Shaheed Shaheed, Treach, Aaliyah Hi

The Game is Dead is a low budget urban film that is nearly two hours long.

As if you weren’t already not going to watch The Game is Dead, that should solidified your position on the movie.

Director, writer, and star Shaheed Shaheed plays Smooth, the son of an afro-haired ho who failed to keep him away from the drug game. Now older and wiser, Smooth has risen to the top of the ranks. And with that, of course, comes narration (from a now jailed Smooth) disguised to cover up the film’s ineptitude, sex scenes, gun violence, drug dealing, and all the other items that Shaheed saw in other urban films and saw fit to copy for his own script. In fact, The Game Is Dead’s only distinguishing quality is that the criminals are all Muslims and the phrase “Salaam Alaikum” is said seventy-three times throughout the movie.

The Game is Dead isn’t as awful as, say, Diggin’ For Dollars, but that doesn’t excuse its many shortcomings. The biggest is, of course, that it’s overly long. Of all the film genres where microbudget filmmakers go overboard on running time, those dabbling in the urban genre are generally the biggest culprits. It seems these directors think they have such a revolutionary story that they honestly believe they’re talented enough to stretch it out to such obscene lengths. Or maybe they had a one hundred page script that turned out much longer when translated to screen, and they just couldn’t bring themselves to do a substantial edit.

Here’s a recommendation for any filmmaker, whether established or aspiring, who reads this. Rent the DVD for Rolfe Kanefsky’s There’s Nothing Out There and after enjoying the flick, check out the special features. In the days leading up to the shoot Rolfe went out with a couple actors and a regular home video camera and shot most of the movie from all the angles he wanted. There were no boom mics, lights, etc., but he was able to quickly put together a rough edit that gave him a good idea of what he needed to do when it came time for the actual shoot.

The trailer, by the way, claims that the film was given four stars by the New York Times. I’d really like to see that review.

And with that, I’ll finish this off by noting that both Treach and Aaliyah Hill have bit parts in the film. At least I assume they do because of York’s advertising for the film, as I’m not hip enough to recognize either of the two offhand.

DVD: Barebones.

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