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Eclectic DVD presents
Da Mission (2001)

"I'm gonna ****** kill that ************ *****!!"
- Mark (Mark Skeete)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: May 17, 2002

Stars: Mark Skeete, Billy D, Montana Grey
Other Stars: Big Ram
Director: Mark Skeete

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong and continuous language, some violence)
Run Time: 01h:21m:20s
Release Date: December 18, 2001
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

I would have to say I'm a supporter of low-budget, independent films in a pretty big way. Sure, I love a lot of big-budget, summer blockbuster type movies, but I also appreciate when amateur, struggling filmmakers dare to risk critical failure and embarrassment to get a project out there. Sometimes, even in failure, there's a triumph underneath. In the case of Da Mission, however, I'm bewildered as to how this film even got off the ground. It's obviously a labor of love for its participants, but it's also incredibly unimaginative and startlingly unfunny. Designed to be a comedy, it has questionable messages behind its "small guys trying to be music stars" theme, and relies on a single, basic premise repeated over and over again.

The film tells a barely comprehensible story of 4 friends with eyes on the future. Some of them want to be rap stars, others want to find more reliable ways of escaping their neighborhood. That's basically the premise, but it never quite goes anywhere. Similar, in a sense, to Friday (the Chris Tucker/Ice Cube comedy), it's really just a "day in the neighborhood" movie. The characters sit around and joke, do pranks, meet other people they know, and that's basically the whole show. Thanks to a lack of proper audio recording, a large percentage of the dialogue is inaudible, and what can be heard is covered in blankets of profanity so thick, a chainsaw would barely cut through it (about 90 different variants of the "F" word are used about 80 times within the first five minutes alone). There is NO story; at least, none that I could discern. The "humor" consists of things like people flinging insults at each other again and again while using copious foul language. After about an hour and 20 minutes, it all comes to an end.

I honestly didn't see the point. Da Mission appears to be marketed as a "hip-hop comedy" (whatever that means), which translate seems to, "We're ripping off people who like rap music." As usual for these kinds of films, there's a highly promoted rap soundtrack, but virtually no effort put into the actual story itself. Exactly why anyone who likes rap would automatically like this aimless, pointless collection of scenes just by virtue of being a rap fan is beyond me. I'd like to think that anyone would expect more from a movie. It's also exhausting that some young, obviously well-intentioned African-American filmmakers can't do anything more creative than a stale "ghetto" comedy with "gangstas" and "bitches."

I mentioned Friday earlier, but by no means should my comparison mean anything other than I was reminded of that film in some ways. In fact, Friday is far superior, but then I feel that watching just about any movie is superior than this. That may sound harsh, but I think it's the unfortunate truth. Da Mission is aimed at the lowest common denominator and tries to wrap itself in showing life "in the hood" and such; fact is, that topic is done to death at this point. Enough already.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: F


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Da Mission seems to be filmed primarily on video, and looks generally good. It's a bit grainy at times and somewhat blurry, but these flaws seem to be mostly rooted in how the camera was operated. Otherwise, there are no issues.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: While the stereo soundtrack is fine for the musical score (mostly rap from the $KGRILLA label), the actual in-film audio is often obscured by it, but worse, the sound work in the film is just terrible. It would seem that very little audio equipment was used, or it was used sparsely, as large sections are simply without any dialogue that can be understood. Even cranking up the volume didn't help much. Granted, this may have been why the film is so incomprehensible, but obviously if you can't hear what's going on, the film won't make much sense.

Audio Transfer Grade: D


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
Packaging: Gladiator style 2-pack
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Compact disc featuring 12 songs from the soundtrack.
Extras Review: The movie might stink, but in the extras category, it's hard to be too harsh on the disc as it comes with a CD featuring the film's soundtrack. Now, I don't really like the music in the film or on the CD, but it has 12 tracks and, assuming that one enjoys some underground rap (regardless of liking the film), it should be a nice topping on the package. Other than that, there are no additional features.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

This isn't really much of a movie, except maybe as advertising for the "$KGRILLA" label of rap artists. For a comedy, I found the humor almost completely absent, but perhaps other people will do better with it. However, it's not just an issue of not "getting it," it just seems to lack any real goal.


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