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1 review, 2 user ratings

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Tougher Than Leather
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by Chris Parry

"Filmmaking so bad it will horrify you."
1 stars

In Germany this was called Mad Dogs: In The Shade of the Force. That title makes about as much sense as the storyline of this film - none at all. Bad movies aren’t the worst thing in the world. Bad movies starring rappers are. And this is a bad movie starring rappers, written by the head of a rap record company, directed by the head of a rap record company, produced by the head of a rap record company and… oh yes… co-starring the head of a rap record company.

Littered with racist remarks, terrible acting, abominable writing and a ridiculous storyline, Tougher Than Leather should have ended some careers but the film world is a forgiving beast. The story follows the rap group, Run DMC, as they’re signed by a shady record company and screwed over by ‘the man’ but rather than paint the rappers as sympathetic characters that are being taken advantage of, it leaves everyone involved looking like assholes.

“Sometimes I wish I was a bird so I could just fly away. Or a giraffe. With a neck long enough that I could bend over and do myself. I’d change places with any one of them like that. (snap of fingers) But what’s the use? Just a dream.”

The above sequence of monologue is spoken by one of the on-screen record producers and it epitomizes everything that stinks about this film. It’s not smart, though it thinks it is. It’s not funny, though it thinks it’s hilarious. And it’s offensive to most, though it thinks it’s cool. How offensive? Take the following as an example, where that same producer explains why the record company should hire a white rap band – The Beastie Boys.

Producer #1: “Sign them.”

Producer #2: “But why boss?”

Producer #1: “Nobody wants to watch ten niggers play basketball, do they?”

Well, as a matter of fact they do. Not that you’d know it by watching this crap. Here’s another great example of terrible writing, this time spoken after the white rap group had made a mess while spending lunch with their black counterparts and the requisite moron white producer.

Waiter: “Did you have a good meal, sir?”

Producer: “Who’d have thought the white guys would be the worst?”

Anyone who knows the Beastie Boys, I’d think.

This whole film is an embarrassment. There honestly isn’t a competent aspect of this entire feature film. The editing is so bad it’s criminal. The directing is as bad as you’ll have ever seen it.

Even the music, which should be the one good part of the film being as the makers would have had no trouble licensing the best tunes, is terrible. Oh sure, it sounds fine but when you’re watching real life rappers performing on a stage in front of a crowd and the music you’re actually hearing is not only dubbed over the performers’ voices but it’s also taken directly from their albums, you know you’ve been defrauded. Hell, this is the kind of stuff that killed Milli Vanilli’s career. Why even make a rap movie if you’re not going to let the damn rappers rap?

“Why’d you have to kill the guy? Why couldn’t you just pay him off?”

“Since I’m not a Jew like you, I didn’t think of it!”

Riiiight. These guys are just ridiculous. The bad guys are wimps, the good guys don’t open doors, they kick them down and the funniest thing about the dialogue are the straight lines. In most action movies, when the bad guy tries to bait the good guy into shooting him, the good guy takes the noble way out. Here, when the bad white guy is being held at gunpoint and says, “I never thought it would all end at the hands of a NIGGER,” the good black guy just shoots him in the face; Indiana Jones style.

Rick Rubin’s writing gives new meaning to the term “suck” and his directing gives new meaning to the phrase “oh my fucking God, my eyes, my fucking eyes, please stop the pain.” Rubin might have built Def Jam out of nothing but as far as this reviewer is concerned, he should be remembered in the same breath as Ed Wood as perhaps being the worst filmmaker the world has ever seen. Word.

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originally posted: 01/03/03 09:57:44
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User Comments

1/11/03 Chancey Sugarpants Best thing: Giraffe fellatio - got a smirk out of me, but in retrospect even that sucked. 1 stars
1/03/03 Mr Math Made me want to puke it was so awful. 1 stars
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  02-Feb-1988 (R)


  02-Feb-1988 (M)

Directed by
  Rick Rubin

Written by
  Rick Rubin

  Joseph Simmons
  Darryl McDaniels
  Jason Mizzell
  Rick Rubin
  Adam Horowitz
  Mike Diamond
  Adam Yauch

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