13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Hip hop film ought to be better than this,
This review is from: State Property (DVD)
"State Property," a hip-hop variation of the "Scarface" tale, is so reprehensible it approaches a snuff eight-millimeter. Like a lot of rap music, which thinks the existence of wanton cruelty, violence and pain automatically legitimizes a song drawing out its every crass detail, the movie is a cheerfully amoral romp through all the horrible, totalitarian things one bully can do to a weaker person - humiliation, dehumanization, torture, murder - with a turn of the tables at the end that supposed to comment on this romp as if it was all very, very bad. Sure. Ask the film's admirers - or even the participants, including indicted star Beanie Siegel - where they stand on the use of force to snuff out anything - enemies, annoyances, acquaintances, even friends - that interfere with their designs of all-consuming power. Dictators rise on such thoughts.
Siegel plays a local criminal who, after a thug epiphany of sorts at a topless bar, wipes out legions of drug dealers in an effort to carve out turf. There are stockpiles of men willing to do his bidding while he watches on in his neon-colored swish-swish outfit, pawing at a fence like some caged animal -yes, I'm not kidding, Siegel paws - as a mass execution goes down on a basketball court. To show he is some kind of leader, Siegel occasionally spits out obvious truisms; to show he has a trace of humanity, the movie trots a girlfriend and child across the screen, the idea being if you have them, you must be something less than a total bogeyman, although such accoutrements didn't excuse Stalin, or Saddam.
Because "State Property" cannot possibly condone this behavior for an entire movie, Siegel eventually matches up against an equal armed foe and the fate that's predetermined for a straight-away lunatic like him.
Unlike Hype Williams' "Belly," which very much wanted to have a message but buried it under the pyrotechnics of cars, girls and jewelry needed to pull young black audiences into the theaters, "State Property" has no aspirations beyond being hard and cold. Directed by Tron Anderson and produced by Siegel's music producer, Damon Dash, the movie is borne out of an appalling, but unsurprising, ignorance of what makes a life worth living. There is no hope, just a few fleeting moments of material wealth, booties and gun-toting power trips.