"Hype Williams "Belly" is an entertaining movie. DMX (Tommy) and Nas (Sincere) who make there first acting appearances, come out strong, I have noticed a couple of other reviewers shooting them down but as far as I am concerned they both dropped stellar acting performances. Music is one reason why I really like this movie, all throughout there is blazing songs from some of my favourite artists, mostly hiphop with a bit of reggae. I particularly liked the trip to Jamaica, just felt that added to movie. Louie Rankin who played drug kingpin Lennox was an intresting character and his last stand was memorable. It seems only natural to have still relatively unknown actor Tyrin Turner (Menace II Society)in this film and though his role as Rico was small I enjoyed it, didnt actually know it was him because of his hairstyle till later. Earl Simmons acting also carried this movie for me, because he played his role well, naturally and was able to make his character change as needed. Also Hype Williams doesnt glorify whats going on, instead he shows the other side of the coin, the movie is dark, but there is a ray of hope (I dont think some people have noticed that). I like the contrast between Sincere and Tommy, at one point they seem to be seperated in that one wants to get out and the other sees no way out, when it comes down to it though both do what they have to find there out, in Sinceres case its defending his life and in Tommy's its turning a new page.This is not some great thought provoking movie, one that makes you feel as a viewer that you have learned alot, what it is however is a story of street life, friendship, relationships, drugs and much more. Glad to have "Belly" in my collection, recommend it to people who love hiphop and enjoy this kind of movie"
Artisan's new "Belly" DVD isn't so SPECIAL!!!!
Crazy Jim | Massachusetts | 01/27/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"When I first heard that Artisan would be releasing a brand new special edition of "Belly", I was intrigued. I already owned the original DVD release which was alright but a little light in the special features category. On it, director Hype Williams spoke on a number of scenes that were omitted from the final release. He talked about wanting to put together a "director's cut". With this edition, I was hoping that we would finally get to see the footage he talked about. Much to my dismay, this entire "Special Edition" is one of the weakest and most half-baked attempts to re-sell the same DVD twice that I've ever come across. Not only is there no added material from the actual movie but the special features included have me more confused than most viewers were with the original version of this film. The so-called "Deleted Scene" is actually just one solid shot of a bunch of people standing in front of some strippers at a night club. When they turn around, their bare breasts are blurred out like some TV reality show or something. I find it very hard to believe that this was ever even intended to be in the movie as the inclusion of it would make no sense once so ever. In fact, I think it's safe to say that it's probably just some daily from one of the filiming days at the strip bar. As for the "Spoken Word Featurette", it is actually just a bunch of people performing live poetry based on some of the characters in the movie. What The?!?! The only added feature that has anything to do with the movie is the music video for the song, "Grand Finale" off the film's soundtrack. Even the advertised bonus CD soundtrack is not the full album but eight songs from it thrown on a disc. The rest of the features are just recycled from the previous DVD release. I have always considered "Belly" to be one of my guilty pleasures. Many critics trashed it, the film bombed in the box office, but found a cult following on video. Sadly, Artisan chose to hit said fan base in the crotch and the wallet with this awful excuse for a "special edition". If you already own the first DVD and the soundtrack, I promise you that you will regret updating your collection with this waste of time. There is no behind-the-scenes footage, "making of" featurette, or any ommitted scenes. Nobody from the cast or crew had anything to do with this at all. This is really quite a shameless attempt to cash in. Underrated film, awful DVD."
Good for half, not good for all
gaz-l | Sacramento | 05/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A person can look a Belly two ways. Half of us will see it as a video guide on how to be drug dealin' gangsta, and as a bad influece on americas youth (trust me, I've seen this movie influence some kids). The other half will see it as a way for, to use one of Nas' own terms, "Ghetto Prisoners to Rise." My only beef is why did they show all of this crime and violence for 99% of the movie? It's like they just tacked on the "lets all get togther ednding" just to make you forget about the actual theme of the film. It doesn't make the film any worse, just puzzling. One great thing is how the characters that Nas, X, and Meth play are exactly how you would vision them in real life. X is hard and crazy, Nas is down, yet knowledgable and intellegant and Meth is grimy. If you like these artists, you'll love Belly. If you don't, you'll probably do better of watching somthing else.Belly is a movie with a message to and from the streets, and with an excellent story line, great camera angles, and real life situations. If oyu can get past all the excess "gangsta-ism" you wil see that."
A visually stunning first film for hype williams
gaz-l | 11/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hype makes a spectacular transistion from the genre of filming amazing music videos to his own feature length film- belly... fusing hip-hop/r&b culture to this gritty street drama, the influences of music can be seen and add much emotional depth to the film. overall, spectacular..."
Confusing Story?? Still a solid Movie!!
christopher b. banks | Yonkers, NY | 01/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hype Williams directorial debut was solid yet confusing. Belly gives you the feel of an overextended music video gone awry. The first few minutes are focused on a glossy holdup of NYC's Tunnel Nightclub. The two main characters, Sincere and Tommy, played by rap stars, Nas and DMX have masterminded a scheme to expand their local empire and popularize a new underground drug. In their efforts, they enlist a Jamaican drug lord (played by Louie Rankin who's authentic but small part is noted:)to front them the cash for quick profits. This sounds like a simple plot, but unfortunately a terrible editing job has made this story difficult to understand unless you view it more than five times. After some reasonable success, the operation is depleted and Tommy and Sincere go in opposite directions. Sincere, played horribly by NAS, and his wife, (Tionne Watkins)who is equally as bad, agree that Africa is their safe haven, and they decide to make the move. This, in my estimation is another confusing part of the story. Why Africa? What sensible black couple would just pick up and travel to Africa to start another life? It just doesn't make sense. The story takes another weird twist when Tommy (DMX) becomes entangled with the Federal authorities to conspire an assaniation plot on a Louis Farrakhan character they foolishly call "The Minister". This Minister character is a cameo role for Dr. Benjamin Chavis, who recently embraced the Nation after a heated ordeal as leader of the NAACP. This climax is fitting since the story has us totally bamboozled by now. Your probably wondering why I gave it four stars, but my explanation should be suffice. DMX holds this picture on his back, he literally carries it from start to finish. Watching him is like seeing Tupac for the first time as a crazed "Bishop" in Juice. Critics say that he simply played himself, if that's so it was a hell of an acting performance..........Otherwise this is a silly story filled with several holes....And whoever is responsible for distribution, should redistribute with the unedited segments. Hopefully, Hype is given another chance to direct a full feature length film ;since he so aptly displayed his potential in "Belly"."