MP Da Last Don: The Movie
If nothing else, rapper, filmmaker, and label head Master P deserves credit for brevity. While it took Francis Ford Coppola three movies and about nine hours to tell the story of the rise and fall of the Corleone family, it takes P a mere 40 minutes or so to tell the story of the imaginatively named Nino Corleone (P), the head of an inexplicably all-white Cuban mob family. The one-man marketing machine's latest commercial venture is the story of an unassuming basketball coach and mobster who takes over the Corleone clan following the murder of his father. P immediately begins to clean up the streets, a development that occupies about three minutes of screen time before the co-writer, co-director, and star gets bored with it and starts killing everyone in his path. If there's anything Master P's previous work as a filmmaker and rapper has shown, it's that he has seen many, many gangster movies. And, appropriately enough, the plot of MP Da Last Don features just about every gangster-movie cliché in the book, from the crooked cop to the tearful scene in which the Don dramatically mourns the death of his beloved wife. But while still dramatically stilted and often unintentionally funny, Da Last Don is P's best film, if only because its mercifully brief running time and overstuffed plot prevent things from slowing down long enough to get boring. As an actor, P is still several rungs below competent: He mumbles in the sort of halting monotone that suggests just how difficult it is to act and remember your lines at the same time. Of course, it also doesn't help that P slips in and out of an astonishingly bad Cuban accent seemingly at random. To pad out its running time, MP Da Last Don also features two music videosone of which reinforces the film's positive social message by showing P and his crew using drugs and firing automatic weaponsand some grainy, out-of-focus, videotaped footage of a Master P concert that wouldn't pass muster as a home movie. For those desiring even more of that Master P filmmaking magic, P's next direct-to-video epic, Da Game Of Life starring Snoop Doggy Dogg, is less than six weeks away.