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Belly 4K UHD Review

The stylish “Belly” can’t overcome a poor script. 

In 1998’s “Belly” (which is set in Queens in 1999), the story revolves around two pals (Buns and Sincere) who lead a life of crime involving robberies, selling drugs, and murder. Along with their friends and business partners Mark, Knowledge,and Black, the group collaborates with a Jamaican drug lord (Ox) for a heroin business, but their problems mount when they face off with a rival dealer (Big Head Rico), Father Sha (who is seeking vengeance) and the authorities (one of which is attempting to coerce Buns into an assassination job). With all of this going on, both Buns and Sincere begin to question their lives and ponder big changes for their future.

Written and directed by Hype Williams (who is best known for helming music videos), “Belly,” well, looks and feels like a music video. The good news is the movie is stylistic and visually stunning (the glossy cinematography by Malik Sayeed goes a long way here). The use of color, the crazy club heist opening sequence, and the artful shots are nothing short of dazzling. Unfortunately, this is very much a case of style over substance.

Although the film does end on an emotional hopeful note involving change and ending the destructive cycle, the rest of the story is a generic crime drama that perpetuates cultural stereotypes. The characters have little to do here with some of them merely popping up without any sort of explanation as to who they are. There is some lazy character narration that attempts to develop the characters, but most of the time they simply utter simplistic lines.

Cast wise, there’s a lot of big names in the hip hop world like DMX, Method Man, T-Boz, and Nas. The late DMX was undoubtedly a great rapper, but he was also a solid actor too. There’s an energy and intensity to his performances that made him engaging to watch. Method Man has always been a charismatic actor and that holds true here with his role as Father Sha. Nas, T-Boz, Taral Hicks, Louie Rankin, and Tyrin Turner turn in respectable performances.


Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? The visual film gets a quality new upgrade with noticeably sharper colors.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? Everything from the music to the gunshots sounds crisp with this new Atmos track. 

* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Commentary by director Hype Williams (on the 4K and Blu-ray).
* Deleted scene
* “Grand Finale” music video.
* “Spoken Word”- Stage performers do spoken word poetry about themes from the film.


January 30, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , ,

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