Metascore
38

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 28
  2. Negative: 13 out of 28
  1. 88
    Never Die Alone is [Dickerson's] best work to date, with the complexity of serious fiction and the nerve to start dark and stay dark, to follow the logic of its story right down to its inevitable end.
  2. 80
    An electrifying modern-dress noir, directed by Ernest Dickerson with a tough, terse, unapologetically brutal attitude that evokes the heyday of Sam Fuller and Robert Aldrich.
  3. 80
    There's something refreshing about a pulp drama that turns on the notion that redemption is a sucker's fantasy. That knowledge may not have saved Goines, but it informs Dickerson's adaptation and results in stellar neo-noir.
  4. That the film finds its own groove is due largely to the eye of director Ernest Dickerson. Not surprisingly, he began his career as a cinematographer, working on Spike Lee’s early films.
  5. 70
    Primarily a riveting genre film that neatly exhibits the director's growing assurance -- Donald Goines would be proud.
  6. Almost everything that frames the drug dealer's tale is facile and second-rate. Simply put, you don't believe it. What you do believe is DMX's cruel charisma.
  7. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    60
    Largely overcomes key cast weaknesses to deliver a jazzy, darkly textured rendering of the ghetto pulp of late African-American ex-con author Donald Goines.
  8. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    58
    In the hands of a more nuanced actor, David could have been a riveting character; but DMX's limited range means it's never clear why such a remorseless thug was seeking "redemption" in the first place.
  9. The script is tight and well-constructed, director Ernest Dickerson has a feel for film-noir aesthetics, DMX exudes a certain brutish charisma and the movie is as morbidly compelling as a good train wreck.
  10. Reviewed by: Allison Benedikt
    50
    Purports to be literate film noir but comes off more like the overwritten project of a film school kid who just memorized his textbook on the style.
  11. This throwback to the outmoded blaxploitation genre is skillfully filmed by Dickerson, but has little else to offer besides cheap, violent thrills.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    Pulpy, fairly speedy but just the same old urban thing by its wrap-up.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    Invites us to both hate King David and admire his style, and there will probably be some hand-wringing about that.
  14. The film has a gritty, grainy look that matches the book's raw texture, and keeps the violence and drug abuse from ever looking slick or appealing.
  15. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    40
    DMX delivers a surprisingly solid and convincing performance, but he's easily overshadowed by the very talented Ealy, who makes his secondary character truly memorable.
  16. What dooms Never Die Alone even as amoral pulp entertainment is the screenplay by neophyte James Gibson, which combines clichéd characters and a contrived plot with stale dialogue.
  17. What Never Die Alone is is a hackneyed tale of vengeance set in the 'hood, teeming with stock characters, slo-mo gunplay, and rampant misogyny.
  18. 30
    Though steeped in both subgenres, Never Die Alone subverts that vicarious enjoyment by showing violence and abuse so unrelentingly ugly that only a sadist could derive the least bit of pleasure from it.
  19. Played by DMX in a gravel-pit monotone and a near-total lack of affect, King David cuts an unremittingly tedious swath through Never Die Alone.
  20. Reviewed by: Stephen Cole
    25
    Ironically, the only good thing about Never Die Alone is its rap-retro soundtrack (God bless Curtis Mayfield!). Otherwise the film is so full of crap they should name a Port-a-San after it.
  21. 25
    Most of the film simply wallows in gangsta hyperbole - it's all bling bling, bang bang.
  22. Does David Arquette have a career? If so, what's he doing in this unintentionally hilarious gangster movie?
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Harrington
    20
    A bumbling adaptation of the same-titled novel by Donald Goines.
  24. Possibly the worst thug-life flick to be released in the past 72 hours, this movie sags under the weight of the bling-bling cliches strung around its headless neck.
  25. Racist, misogynistic and breath­takingly cynical, Ernest Dickerson's clichéd crime drama Never Die Alone shamelessly exploits the degrada­tion of its irredeemable characters.
  26. 0
    If Never Die Alone had even a smidgeon of comic relief (or even, say, a bunch of zombies) to offset some of its relentlessly downbeat brutality, it might have been at best tolerable. But it doesn't, and it's not.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Sep 16, 2013
    9
    Dark, jazzy, with a saturated visual style and engaging narrative that examines a drug pusher and his need to return home to the New York and make amends to a small time drug lord he pilfered a stash of heroin from a decade earlier. Much of films failure commercially is due to the poor advertising and marketing which tried to sell it as a "Gangsta thriller" when in fact it's an introspective and literate urban noir that shows the domino effect one mans life can have on those around him. David Arquette's aspiring novelist in the ghetto is a smart fit when you examine that he is meant to be out of place in this milieu. DMX makes a brutal and charismatic screen presence who makes his character David more interesting then you would think and the supporting roles are well cast and deeper than what you would expect. Credit to Michael Ealy as a somber and reflective runner for the local drug lord and director Ernest Dickerson creates a layered and intelligent film from Donald Goines 1970's novel. The last 20 minutes, when the film's arc really comes full circle is impressive and rewarding. Full Review »