A struggling white American male tries to fight his way through a series of battles against a number of black American males while also keeping down his unrewarding, low-paid job and struggling with a number of personal problems. Yes, it’s the Rocky franchise. Oh . . . . wait . . . no it isn’t. Sadly, this is what 8 Mile amounts to though. It’s a lot of uninteresting, uninvolving filler material in between some great “battle” scenes that really get you feeling each verbal slap and smack as if they were physical blows.
Eminem does very well in a lead role that probably didn’t require him to stretch himself that much, being based on a portion of his life and his rise through the ranks as it is. Kim Basinger is “trailer mom” and does okay and everyone else . . . . . well, with the exception of a couple of people (including Brittany Murphy who seems to specialise in the role of “lead tramp”), everyone else seems to mumble their lines, point at bystanders and rant about various grudges against either rival gangs or “the man” holding everyone down. When Eminem is not taking centre stage, or when there are no abusive lyrics flying around, the film almost grinds to a halt.
Fortunately, director Hanson has his leading man in almost every single scene so he’s always on hand to wake you up again if all that crazed gang talk starts sending you to sleep. Unfortunately, the star of the show deserves better surroundings and better use of his talents than what he gets here. There have been much worse star vehicles for musicians to move into film with but there have also been many standard movies made that were a lot better than what we would expect from the people involved with this one.
DIRECTOR: CURTIS HANSON
STARRING: EMINEM, KIM BASINGER, BRITTANY MURPHY, MEKHI PHIFER
RUNTIME: 110 MINS APPROX