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Never Die Alone

Never Die Alone (2004)

March. 26,2004
| Drama Action Crime

A drug kingpin's return home touches off a turf war.


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"King" David(DMX, who's... a better rapper than he is an actor; in general, the performances are "fine" or worse), a charming scumbag(who does genuinely possess both qualities), returns to pay his debts to Moon, the dealer he screwed over, among others(and to narrate this entire thing, as his exploits in LA are shown in flashback). Only it's too late. He's done too much to just "make amends", and he doesn't realize in time. His return sparks a series of events involving both of the aforementioned, and Mike, who works for the latter and is very protective of his sister. You can somewhat figure out a number of the places this story of revenge and karma goes, but at least it does take itself seriously, keeping to the bleak tone throughout. The environment is brutal and unflinching. There's essentially no likable characters in this, just degrees of despicable. That's intentional, it's part of the approach, but it does make it a straining viewing experience. At least it does keep to a nice pace and it gets going immediately. It's pretty tense and exciting. This is largely realistic and psychologically credible. The hand-held cinematography is quite good(and immersive), if the occasional 90 degree angle turn is off-putting. There is a lot of graphic, bloody violence, disturbing content, strong language and direct sexuality in this. The DVD comes with an informational and interesting commentary track(with the star, director and screenwriter), 10 minutes of "meh" deleted scenes, a 5 and a half minute decent making of featurette, trailers for Inkasso, Saw, Paparazzi, The Machinist, Af Banen, Hotel Rwanda, Merchant of Venice, A Home at the end of the World and this. I recommend this to fans of gruesome ghetto dramas. 6/10

bob the moo

King David has only returned to his home for a short time when his attempts to even up with crime boss Moon sees him killed. White journalist Paul sees the action and drives David to the hospital but it is too late to save him, although David does leave Paul his car and contents – including cash and a collection of audio tapes that turn out to be King's dictated memoirs. While he listens to these tapes he learns of David's past but also comes to realise that he is in danger from the people who had him killed. Meanwhile, the individuals who were directly involved in the murder find first hand that Moon is very protective of himself and his power.There have been a couple of positive reviews about this film and all of them have mentioned the fact that it took them by surprising by turning out not to be the DMX gangbanger action film that they worried it may have been. Like them I was pleasantly surprised to find that this random film selection was more of a serious crime drama than just another hip hop product with guns and booty, however just because the film deserves credit for not being something worse, doesn't mean that one should ignore that neither is it something better. Based on one of Goines' novels, the film had potential to be a dark and brutal depiction of a life of crime and the device of having someone look back with regret (to a point) would have informed and allowed this even more.Such a shame then that the potential in the story is not ever delivered on and instead the film comes out as an engaging but unremarkable crime thriller. The reasons for this are partly budget because the script does do a reasonable job of drawing out the emotions and character traits and not just delivering the events. However for many reasons this doesn't translate into an impacting or moving film. Contrary to some claims DMX is part of the problem. Sure he deserves credit for trying to do something with a bit more meat to it but as with his rapping he just doesn't have the depth or range to pull it off. As narrator and main character he had to carry the whole weight of the film but very little comes through in his voice or performance. It is undeniable how damaging this lack of range is to the film. Ealy is solid as Michael but this is not really an actor's film and people like Powell, Arquette, Tyler and others just sort of do the basics. Gomez-Preston is good as Juanita – delivering a harrowing character really well.Never Die Alone is the story of a cruel and callous man who lived in crime and died because of it. It is set up to deliver a strong moral story full of pain and depth and the presence of future director of The Wire Dickerson only seemed to confirm this. Sadly the delivery doesn't do this, at least partly down to the limits of DMX as an actor. The end result is an OK but unremarkable drama that is disappointing because it appears to have had more within its reach.


I watched this movie expecting nothing. I was actually surprised by how good DMX could pull off his role as the King. This movie really shows the gritty, nasty truth of drug induced violence. There are no good people in this film, and there are no heroes to speak of. There are just ugly, evil, menacing things and people sewn completely through any attempt at good morals. This movie definitely hold no bars on how far it goes. It shows practically rape, murders of innocents, hard drugs, and intentionally making someone you love addicted to heroin. DMX truly shows the King as an evil and god-awful person and by the end of the movie, it is quite satisfying to connect it to the beginning. I can't say this is a great movie because there aren't any redeeming values to it, and there is really no point in it. It does however chill your bones in it truthfulness, and sparks an issue that can be debated after the movie is complete. Decent job guys, but give us a point and a good guy in there! 6/10


I read the novel before I saw the movie, and I loved the novel. I saw the movie and I loved the movie. The person who commented before me was "sickened" by the movie and gangster rap culture. A large part of understanding this movie is knowing that this was a novel all based on true events. These events are a harsh reality. The concept of this movie was not thought up by rappers, Hollywood, or whatever. This movie was based on a novel written by the late Don Goines in the 60's / 70's and based on true events. This movie, although straying from the original ideas of the book, is a representation of harsh reality. Having read the novel, I understand this very well. It's also important to keep in mind that Don Goines wrote his novels in prison and spent much of his life as a drug addict. He was murdered in 1977.