Friday, July 27, 2007

Rock the Bells DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Chronicles Offstage Antics at Wu-Tang Clan’s Last Concert

Fans of the rap game know that the Wu-Tang Clan was comprised of nine gangstas with menacing monikers like Masta Killah, Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (aka ODB), GZA, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, RZA and U-God. Devotees of the group are probably likewise familiar with the Clan’s reputation as notorious no-shows.
It is for this reason, I suppose, that Rock the Bells might find an audience among those committed to the so-called thug life. For the movie is more about the efforts of music entrepreneur Chang Weisberg simply to reunite the naughty nonet for what would be its final concert in San Bernardino, California during the summer of 2004.
Shot just four months before the late ODB would OD on cocaine, most of the film is devoted to the day-long rap festival’s frantic promoter, a whirling dervish who attends to virtually aspect of the show with the help of a skeleton crew. Besides the Clan, eight other acts were scheduled to appear, including Redman, who emerges from his limo issuing an urgent mandate for marijuana, ordering, “Find some herb! Now! And I ain’t kidding!”
As amusing as that might be, some of the lesser-known performers still steal the show, like a pudgy, college-bred white rapper who boasts about the size of his manhood on stage before proceeding to take his pants off to wave it at the less than appreciative females in attendance. As if hip-hop’s answer to Woodstock, the gathering gets uglier as it unfolds, and it falls to the ethnically-ambiguous Chang to deal with each crisis, whether with cops concerned about contraband, artists upset about the crappy sound system, the often impatient and unruly patrons, or his overwhelmed employees.
Chaotic, yet still somehow a fitting, posthumous tribute to hellraiser ODB.

Very good (3 stars)
Running time: 104 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video

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