Life (1999)


“You don’t want me to come down there. I ain’t nice like the boss; I’ll slap the black off your ass! Get to work! ” – Hoppin’ Bob

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Jun 2020)

Brief Synopsis – During the 1920’s, two black men from New York are sent to do a moonshine deal in Mississippi and inadvertently get framed for murder by a corrupt sheriff.

My Take on it – This is a film that I’ve avoided for over twenty years because I didn’t expect it to be very good despite having Eddie Murphy in the lead role.

Unfortunately, it tries much too hard to be a newer The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and fails miserably in that attempt because there is no comparison between these two films on any level.

The film’s comic tone lessens so much of the themes developed here which have so much potential in a very dramatic tone an that makes this even less enjoyable to watch unfold.

Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence are both great actors yet this film has their characters bickering too much which in the end makes it even more difficult to like either of their characters.

The bets thing about this film is the make-up used to age these characters o much over the course of the film and this adds to the realism of things.

The story is filled with far too many social issues dealing with the “South” and they feel crammed together over the 108 minute runtime.

This takes away from some of these themes being more poignant which is a shame.

The story also fails to effectively use the idea of passage of time here  because they have so much wasted potential with things here.

Bottom Line – Film that doesn’t work well enough because it tries too hard to copy the success of The Shawshank Redemption (1994).  The comic tone of the story takes away from some of the potentially powerful scenes and it just isn’t enjoyable enough. Murphy and Lawrence are great actors yet this film has them bickering too much and that makes it more difficult to like either of them. The make-up years to age the characters is spectacular and helps make things feel a bit more realistic.  The story tries to cram in as many social issues of the “South” into just 108 minutes and things feel too forced instead of poignant like one would hope.  The story also fails to effectively use the passage of time to make things work better which is a shame due to the potential that they have here.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When Ray and Claude are standing on a box of bottles, Claude mentions that a one of his toes has slipped into one of them. This actually happened during the take, but Martin Lawrence kept going, despite Eddie Murphy‘s laughing, which is genuine. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (4/10)

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One thought on “Life (1999)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1999 | MovieRob

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