In a city where the line between right and wrong is blurred, four cops pushed over the edge take matters into their own hands. This action-packed crime drama features Big Boi of Outkast, Big Gipp, Lil Jon and the Eastside ... more »Boyz, Killer Mike and Slimm Calhoun.« less
"I felt like something was missing in my life, then I saw 20 Funerals. This film fills the void modern cinema has succumbed to. If you want to see a great film with new up and coming stars, current moguls in the Hip Hop industry, action, suspense, great writing, superb production, skillful direction, top-notch cinematography, then this is the film of the year. You can really tell the cast and crew had a great time making this picture. The feeling is conveyed right through the screen to you, as you will have a great time watching 20 Funerals, I know I did."
A great example of truly independent cinema
ChrisD_UK | UK | 06/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"20 Funerals is the latest film to hit DVD from Wilmington, NC filmmaker Anghus Houvouras (Fearsome, Thugs Got Game). It's the story of a group of cops who -after the death of a fellow officer- decide to use some unconventional methods. Twenty names make up their list of scum that must be removed from the street in order to clean things up. The plan comes with a strong set of rules in order to keep things organised, but some rules are made to be broken. Things begin to turn sour when the cops are inevitably called upon to investigate the cases they're creating themselves.
It's a clever concept that could easily have been created by the mind of Quinton Tarantino and has some impressive dialog to match. This film is a must see for anyone with a dark sense of humour or love for violence, action, hip-hop, or simply, independent cinema.
Being an independent filmmaker myself with many influences and heroes, I know how easy it is to stick nods to personal favourites into a script. Quite often these can come across out of place and character. But in 20 Funerals the writer/director manages to tie in references to pop culture and Greek mythology and use them to the scripts advantage. He is able to add depth and realism to the characters and the world they live in.
Clocking in at just less than eighty minutes, the film is a tad on the short side. However apart from adding three of four more funerals, there's little that could be done with this. The film tells its story in a clear and cool way but does come with a few faults. As mentioned by a previous reviewer the opening sequence doesn't come across too strong, but this is soon forgiven and forgot when the film sets itself on track. What follows is a set of great performances from the leads, including DJ Naylor, Mark Mench, and the majority of the supporting cast, backed up by a solid Hip-Hop soundtrack, and great visuals.
I was hooked from the moment the 20 Funerals plan came into play and stayed gripped throughout. With plenty of plot twists, character developments, and outside party intervention, the film kept me on the edge of my seat. While watching you get a strong sense of the fun and hard work put in by the cast and crew which makes the whole experience even more gratifying. I look forward with great anticipation for this exciting filmmakers next piece `Dead Heist'."
Interesting Movie, a little slim on the extras
JonathanFeldspar | Topeka, KS | 06/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I liked the movie. Far better than i thought it would be. The DVD doesn't have a lot of extras. They could have at least put in a commentary track, as i wanted to hear what the Director had to say. Best part of the movie is Lil Jon and The Eastside Boys and Big Boi. They were hilarious. About 10 times better than Be Cool (which i thought sucked)."
Dwight McCarthy | 06/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"### BEWARE - MILD SPOILERS ###
I just finished watching an early screener copy of this film by Anghus Houvouras. It stars DJ Naylor as one of four cops who, following the killing of a guy in their department, go vigilante, and work their way up the criminal food chain of the city, taking out gangsters and lowlifes as necessary. After all, there's nothing that can't be solved by 20 Funerals.
The film has a slightly weak opening sequence where we see the cop killed, followed by an overly long credit sequence. It sets up the premise of the film okay, but interweaving the credits with a more tense, intimate scene for the undercover bust and eventual murder would have boosted the opening up a notch.
Luckily, once their pal is dead and buried, it soon picks up, thanks to some great acting by all four leads, with particular props going to DJ Naylor and Mark Mench. DJ effortlessly portrays the conflicted hero/anti-hero, torn between doing the right thing, and doing the right thing. Herein lies the film's real strength: what could have simple been entertaining pulp violence is supported by a tight script, good performances, and (most importantly) and plot and characters to care about, and that sustain our interest. Retribution for murdering a cop seems justified, and when Chase (Naylor) slams down a wad of evidence against each and every target we don't question the validity of their mission. But as one soon-to-be-victim pleads for his life, petrified with fear and asking for a second chance, for the sake of his wife and kids, the morality of their quest is suddenly in doubt. And far from ignoring such issues, the situation creates doubts within the team. We watch with avid interest as these issues drive some of the characters to empathise with their victims (breaking one of the main rules of their mission - "We don't let it get personal") and others to beyond rationality.
It is here that Mark Mench really shines, stealing the show from even the fantastic DJ Naylor, with an enthusiasm and depraved maniacism reminiscent of Dogma's Jason Lee. By his most fanatical scene, his Detective Keitel has undergone a complete character arc, either changed by what's happened or simple freed by their success to unleash his inner demons.
Inevitably, given the structure of the film, it struggles to find an ending to match the brilliance of what has come before, but the twist in the final moments satisfies none the less, and overall the movie works very well. Great visuals, a cool soundtrack, some killer lines, and some hilarious moments make for a highly entertaining film.
Well worth checking out when it hits DVD on June 7th 2005."
Dark, clever, violent, tough, well done!!
J Gabriel | Alexandria, VA United States | 02/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like the genre, you ought to pick up a copy of this film. Expect to see low budget with SOLID acting and a surprisingly vibrant script. Once the viewer accepts the premise, the story tracks true in the ghetto violence/Texas Chainsaw world created by the director. It is gritty and violent and if that's your thing you will love this movie. The characters are realistic and leave you wanting to know more about them. DJ Naylor is fantastic!! This guy has got a real career ahead of him! He's got a unique, authentic look - sounds like he's been there and done that, and if you are into detail, you will even notice that he seems to really know how to fire a weapon. Must've been in the military for real at some point. No Hollywood special effects but no Hollywood baloney either. Can't wait to see his next film - holy cow! He would kick Vin Diesel's behind. Do NOT see this film if you don't like violence. One gore scene was overly schlocky, but aside from that, buy the film for the story and for the acting. Pretty darn good for a low budget independent film few have heard of!"