Too Fine, Finny and Rage are on the verge of being the next big thing in London’s Underground Urban music scene with their group Time Served. On the verge of big things the trio hit a plush London club to flash some bling, drink some Champaign and do all those ghetto fabulous things expected of rising music stars bred on the street. After Too fines sister ends up to drunk he decides to leave early and drive her home. On the way home his past comes back on him big time in the form of a drug lord named Temper. Too Fine had left the hustle behind him but he left un cleared debts on the street and if you watch enough of these films you know the street never forgets, forgives or gives a fuck about you. Too Fine owes Temper and stopped at the lights he collects in kind with a bullet to Too Fine's head.
With a member gone Time Served is finished as a musical force. To make matters worse Temper is still after his money and brutally rapes and threatens Too fines sister Hope. How ever Temper has pushed his luck too far, bad as he is this rude gal is badder and a couple of shotgun blasts soon see Temper gone. Now with everything in turmoil Finny and Rage join close friend Pushy in taking down Tempers main boys before they can hit back in a blatant clubland execution. Now with their dreams in ruins the four of them turn to the streets to make a living. Hope meets with the Old school Essex gangster who supplied Temper with his product and with their considerable connection they are soon making big money. The problem is the things you do often come back to haunt you and walking into a plush London club and spraying it with automatic bullets has put an obsessive cop on their trail.
When I first heard about Rollin' with the nines I have to admit the idea of a UK made ghetto tale packed with grime music had me thinking this is going to be embarrassingly shit. I caught the trailer a while back and it looked better than I thought so I figured when it hit DVD I would give it a chance. So credit where credit is due Rollin' with the nines while not exactly award winning film making is way better than I thought it would be. For one thing this is a British movie that actually attempts to put some action on the screen. The gun battle in the Yardies house which was what got me interested after the trailer is excellent. There’s also a pretty cool Car chase which mimics the kind of thing you see on reality TV with names like "Britain’s Craziest Car chases". The acting is mixed with some of the more experienced actors abilities causing the faults of the less experienced to be highlighted, but lets face it your not expecting this to be Hamlet. The plot falls into the realms of the kind of thing you describe as serviceable, nothing special but it moves the film along a good pace. One thing that struck me was the film is surprisingly violent, you get so used to how watered down films have become with their quest to gain the converted PG-13 rating. There even a touch of nasty gore as the camera skips over bodies in a bath tub, no doubt victims of the punishment ritual the Yardies have become notorious for.
Rollin' with the nines is exploitative playing up the black on black crime which exists in the UK. Drugs and crime of course are far from limited to just black people every ethnic group Turks, Chinese, Pakistani's, Indians, Albanians, Italians, Greeks and the majority white population all have members going after a slice of the money from crime pie. How ever while most groups try and play down their heavy involvement in crime, the urban music scene has long taken the role of being the voice of the street and as such has played a large part in the exploitation of these issues within those communities. While Pakistanis and Turks shut the fuck up and let middle England believe the brand new Mercedes outside the corner shop or Kebab house is the profit of "Hard Work" Britain’s black community no doubt taking a leaf out of their American cousins book talk about a crime on the streets and the fruits and ills it brings. A film like Rollin' with the nines is really just an extension of such music a violent fantasy on film all be it full of incidents that could and sometimes do happen in a Huge City like London. Exploitative sure, but much in the way that Mafia, triad, Yakuza and such films are, most people realize these for the stories they are and that they reflect the behavior of only small groups within a larger community.
Is Rollin' with the nines a movie I would give pride of place in my DVD collection, not at all. It's a far cry from the films I would consider stand out Urban cinema or crime cinema in general. That said though it’s something which in my opinion makes a great rental movie. It’s also packed with a lot more action and violence than you expect from a British movie. Sure it's not a British gangster classic and it’s certainly not got a plot you need to think about like many twisty crime tales, but it does deliver on the fun. The much hyped Urban soundtrack is great for the movie, not my kind of music normally, but it works really well here and does add to the ambiance. I could see this film going over fairly well with the USA's larger urban audience, as it certainly better than the films many Rap moguls like to churn out for that demographic.
Violent action crime cinema backed by a bouncy UK Urban soundtrack that's worth a peep. 6/10