John Henry, the LA set gangsta movie based very loosely on the legend of the eponymous folklore hero, is an attempt by producer DJ Quick to tell a feature length story with a rap song sensibility. The attempt fails. Miserably.
The picture screens more like a film school project, rough around the edges with disjointed storytelling, than a “micro-budget feature.” Several plot points strain credulity and the movie is left to stand on the bullet riddled legs of comical cartoon violence replete with spaghetti western music appended in the lead up to the closing scene.
With a revered 90s west coast rapper at the post production board you’d expect a hard, banging soundtrack. And Quick doesn’t disappoint there. But this offering confirms the verities of the old adage, “Stay in your lane, bro. Stay in your lane.”
There’s not much redeeming about this one. Even Terry Crews’ attempt to ramp up the complexity of the main character feels like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A movie spare on multidimensional characters, the music and mayhem might keep you awake through most of it, but eventually it becomes numbing. Legend has it that in the end John Henry laid down his hammer and he died. Yep, so does this one.