State Property

on January 18, 2002 by Rachel Deahl
A low-budget, low-brow examination of a Philadelphia gangbanger's rise to the ranks of notorious drug kingpin, director Abdul Malik Abott's first feature is a dull, simple-minded and stereotypical tale of drugs, death and mind-numbing indifference on the inner-city streets.

   Beans (Beanie Sigel) is an ambitious young man living in the inner city of Philadelphia who seizes on the notion of becoming a wealthy, unforgiving drug lord. To carry out his plan of becoming rich and powerful, he goes about killing small-time dealers and recruiting an army to carry out his bidding. He coins his group the “ABM” (All Black Mafia). But when he wrangles with another well-entrenched dealer, he runs into some trouble on the street and with the law.

   Boasting minor appearances from rap stars Jay-Z and D-Nice, “State Property” is ultimately rote and uninspiring. Failing to create any mildly interesting, complex or sympathetic characters, Malik Abott's film is more a march of killings than a story. The film rolls on mechanically as Beans kills one person after another with little regard for the repercussions of his actions and even less for human life. As boring as the action is, the forethought behind it is even more mystifying. Is there a point to all this? If there is, it's a secret the filmmakers neglect to share with their audience. Abott, who twice cuts lengthy montages of female strippers in with his basic plot, seems to be more enthralled with the fact that someone allowed him to hold a camera than he is with the possibility of telling a story. Glorifying the gangster lifestyle more than it examining it, “State Property” not only cashes in on tired material, it manages to do an even worse job presenting it. Starring Beanie Siegel, Memphis Bleek, Omillio Sparks and Sundy Carter. Directed by Abdul Malik Abott. Written by Abdul Malik Abott and Ernest ‘Tron' Anderson. Produced by Lawrence Turman, David Hoberman, Ashok Amritraj and Wendy Dytman. A Lions Gate release. Drama. Rated R for strong violence and sexuality, nonstop language, and drug content. Running time: 85 min.

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