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Belly Review

Image for Belly

A gang of drug dealers squabble over their views of life.

★★★★

A top music video director, a galaxy of rap stars, including members of Wu Tang Clan and TLC, and a cool soundtrack - the perfect ingredients for a hip movie laced with social commentary and topped off by a dash of machismo. In a perfect world maybe. But shackled to a threadbare plot and guided by primary school philosophy, unfortunately Belly fails in every department.

The scenario revolves around two friends and partners-in-crime. Tommy (DMX) revels in the benefits of his misdemeanours, which include a flash pad, nice car and trophy girlfriend. Sincere (Nas) or Sin to his mates, is more concerned with taking care of his partner (Watkins) and their young child. And that's pretty much it.

While the film does dabble with other storylines, most prominently a drug deal with a Jamaican cartel boss (Rankin), it's so disorganised that it's nigh impossible to understand anything. And the characters are so reprehensible that even after Sincere has had his Geri Halliwell-style redemption - which involves reading one self-help book and realising killing is bad - it's difficult to feel any sympathy.

The only respite from this drubbing is Williams' undoubted visual talent - employing moody lighting, freeze-frames and a barrage of other nifty techniques. As for the actors, their involvement consists of little more than swearing a lot and firing the odd gun, which they do quite well.

The lesson to be learned here is that movies are far more complex than music videos. Most videos require little or no thought of plot, structure or characterisation, but look great. Which is probably why Williams is so good at them.