Cam'Ron: Killa Season
Label: Asylum Records
Author: Tom Doggett
Rappers can rap. Rappers can act. But can rappers direct?
Cameron Giles, AKA Cam'Ron, has made a feeble foray into the arena of filmmaking with "Killa Season," an apparent accompaniment to his album of the same name. It stars Cam and all of his friends, and they aren't even pretending to act. In fact, the only pretense of fiction comes in the character names. The beginning features clips from his high-school basketball career in Harlem, including an amusing dig at former teammate Murda Mase. This begins the confusion, though, as the character of "Flea," played by Cam'Ron, is referred to as Cameron and other versions of his own name. It's not until several minutes into the film that he is actually referred to as Flea.
The first scenes are hilarious, showing Cam walking around the halls of his high-school, supposedly still a sophomore. This is funny because just seconds earlier we had been treated to actual footage of Cam as a sophomore, and now he expects us to buy full-grown Cam strolling around at school with a blunt hanging out of his mouth, selling weed to teachers and security guards.
The film turns bad when Cam'Ron gets serious. The general plot could be guessed by anyone, so I'll try to do it in a sentence. Cam starts with petty dealing before moving up to the powdered stuff, and he and his boys build an empire with plenty of obstacles from police and haters on the block. Whoops, I meant Flea. My bad.
There are some interesting scenes. After his grandpa dies, a montage of pictures is paired with a reminiscing song in a surprisingly fluid and heartfelt ode to important people in his past. Funkmaster Flex has a humorous cameo as an irritated car dealer, and Cam's interactions with his straight-laced white lawyer are intentionally and appropriately awkward. After picking up his grandfather's inheritance, he tries to burn one in the lawyer's office and is gently reminded that weed smoke probably isn't the best thing for business. There's also a scene in which the guys go straight to the source, watching Dominican girls expel their product so that they know it's not being cut. This part is revolting, but also surprisingly real and therefore disturbing. Sections like this hint at Cam's potential as a filmmaker, but he clearly needs a great deal of practice.
The film stars Cam'Ron, of course, along with Juelz Santana and Hell Rell. Aside from dramatic scenes that crash because of their lack of training (or talent), they all do reasonably well. The reason for this, though, is because they aren't actually acting. They are playing themselves, right down to the costumes, so the film mostly resembles a planned documentary with a few blatantly poor plot points thrown in for effect. Some of these are logical, but others, such as Cam's planned takeover of the block at age sixteen, remain very vague as to what he actually does to succeed. Even worse, some parts have no relationship to the rest of the movie. I mean, for God's sake, they hire a private jet just so that Cam can fit in a scene in an Atlanta strip club that turns into a BET uncut music video. Then, without warning, the jet's taking off and they are back up north. Even worse, he insults our intelligence by including the obligatory "helping the community" subplot. He steers a cokehead that he had been providing drugs to back onto the right path. Give me a fucking break, Cam. According to him, all you need is Cam'Ron's attention and a little pocket money and you're right back on your feet. It's just that easy.
There is absolutely no reason to buy this DVD unless you have Cam'Ron posters on your wall. The film is just professional enough, and long enough, to disallow watching for pure amusement. The length is a big issue because there is no merit to having running time of two hours for such a movie. If anything, a documentary would have been a smarter move, because "Killa Season" is just an embellished documentary. A few scenes, such as the sex scene with his "wifey," show that he has at least watched enough movies to understand cinema a little. Some of the personal interactions between the crew seem genuine and are quite interesting as a result, but the plot is truly abysmal. "Flea" is just Cam'Ron, and there's no way around it. I'm still gonna buy the album because he's nice on the mic, but Cam's got to drop this movie business. It isn't his thing.
Content: 3 of 10
Layout: 5 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: May 16, 2006