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Notorious: Underground Movie Review

The Nineties was known for a lot of things. There was the dominance of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, "Friends" was on for more than half of the decade and the internet as we know it today was on its infancy. In music alone, boy bands ruled, the Spice Girls were everywhere, Kurt Cobain and his band Nirvana became an icon and there was the East Coast-West Coast feud in rap music. As we all know, it became really bloody in the end when two rap legends were gunned down - Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. The film "Notorious" tackles the life of the latter from his childhood to the pinnacle of his genre. Is "Notorious" a worthy biopic of the legend of Biggie Smalls? Read on to find out the answer.


"Notorious" tells the story of murdered rapper Notorious B.I.G. We start off from Chris Wallace a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, a boy who is torn between being a good and obedient son to his mother Voletta, and his aspirations to become a rapper. Soon the young man chooses his dream while also getting into the world of drug dealing. All seems well until Chris is caught on a drug bust and spends time in jail. After finishing his jail time, one of Chris' friends tells him that he has a talent for the mic and introduces him to Sean Combs - better known as Puff Daddy. Sean decides to sign Chris just as long as he promises to quit drug dealing. Sean eventually creates Bad Boy Records and this is where Chris' career takes a gigantic leap to fame.

"Notorious" has its good parts and bad parts but ironically, most of the good things are not essential parts of a normal flick. As a movie and more so a biopic, the film fails and the reason is that the film seems really rushed and scenes were not explained well. One scene we find Chris in love with Li'l Kim and the next he is already marrying Faith Evans. This actually happens countless times in the movie and it would have been more acceptable if the running time was longer but the story was developed further. As for the good parts, the soundtrack was phenomenal which translates well with the rap portions in the movie. This is probably the selling point of the film but logic says why not just buy a CD or the said tracks in iTunes. Bottom line, this is less than your typical biopic film and that is not saying much from the get-go. If you want to know Notorious B.I.G, this might be a good, simplistic start but a man's life isn't a simple battle of black and white. Some of those who already know his story will definitely find the film lacking in many areas.

Rating: 2.5 reels





Why you should watch it:
- rap parts were done outstandingly and the music is the main selling point for this film
- really simple story of a man who started from nothing and ended up being the best: simplicity is the key

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the film tags itself as a biopic but it lacks depth in presenting its main character's life
- feels like the different scenes are rushed and not interspersed very well


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