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All or Nothing

Key East // NC-17
List Price: $25.00 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Chuck Arrington | posted June 25, 2001 | E-mail the Author


For every platinum selling rapper, there are hundreds of equally talented kids who never get their shot at stardom. All or Nothing is the story of one of these extremely talented kids who never gets a shot at the big time. Mike (Tyrone Gibson) is a talented rapper who sees dollar dollar bills y'all in the lyrics he flings. For all his talent however, he's clueless on some very fundamental issues, namely responsibility. Mike has a son and a loving girlfriend who come second to his burgeoning career as the next biggie whoever. Assured his success is right around the next corner, Mike refuses to get a job to take care of his family's needs. very basic needs such as food and rent. Because of her allegiance to him his girlfriend is being emotionally pulled in every direction. Her mother, brother and friends all want her to drop Mike and get with someone who'll take care of her and the baby as opposed to running the streets and leaving her alone to fend for her son and their household. If these problems weren't already enough the world in which Mike is traveling is laced with miniature hoods that think carrying a gun or having a police record are the way to success and prosperity. The worse scenario is put in play when those punks actually resort to using their weapons as a way to make a name for themselves. Obviously, Mike is conflicted and he'll have to make some hard decisions regarding his life and the future of his family before he's drawn into a situation from which there is no return. All or Nothing is a very gritty and real look at the lives of those who attempt to gain it all by putting everything on the line.


The audio/dialogue is presented in a loud and clear DD5.1 platform. The film's score is full of bottom heavy bass that will rock your HT with little warning. There are two commentary tracks on the disc. the first features the cast Christine Carlo, Adrian R'Mante, Kiko Ellsworth, Jaqueline Fleming and Producer/Writer JL Davis. Heavy on fun and witticism, it sums up their collective experiences on the film and all the behind-the-scenes action that took place but was never shot. The Second Commentary features Tyrone Gibson, Lanz Alexander and again Producer/Writer JL Davis. More on the technical side, Davis (The primary contributor) lets you in on everything the Director, Adisa, drew from in setting up scenes and creating certain imagery. His/their wealth of knowledge and skill in filmmaking is incredible given his/their relative infancy in filmmaking on this scale. Among other things, the commentary opened my eyes to a visual "character" Adisa employed throughout the picture. At first glanceI had a very real issue with the quality of the visual presentation. Without the commentary, the video appears to be very low budget and unintentionally poor. With the commentary, we realize that the film was shot on Mini DV and was intended to present a very poor and cheap looking effect for the sake of realism and character. Man was I glad to hear that! while the image wasn't as tight "technically" as I may have wanted it, knowing that that was the Director's intent made it very easy on my eyes and mind. Both commentary tracks are fun and well worth listening to. Something neat on the second commentary consisted of the film's actual dialogue track playing during the commentary. It provided something of a "Hall"-like atmosphere as it echoed throughout the Producer's commentary. Not a detracting element rather, a different and cool twist on a usually commentator-sans effects segment. The video as identified in the film' s second commentary is intentionally, poor and grainy. Its full frame presentation captures the director's intent and presents the film in tune with his vision.


The Special Edition of "All or Nothing" boasts a trailer full of features. They consist of: both the Producer's and Director's cuts of the film. Mind you I saw very little in the way of difference. The one instance of difference I was able to see was the length of a love scene between Tyrone and Christine's characters. Other than that, the films appeared to be the same.

Three Music Videos provided by Tyrone Gibson, Shayan Selah and the Himalayaz

A 20-minute Making of Featurette featuring interviews with the cast and Producer JL Davis. for only a 20-minute segment they packed in enough information for an hour or more. The interviews are very informative regarding the direction each actor used to create their onscreen persona in the final cut. It also identified the future projects these aspiring mega-stars are currently either acting in or Directing/Producing. Lastly, JL Davis tells a little more about the creative process that birthed All or Nothing and his very special character named after his son "Rome".

Deleted Scenes

There are three scenes included in various stages of completion. None of the scenes were new. They were all extensions of scenes already in the film.

And lastly, The Director's Student Films. Adisa Directed three post-graduate films that are presented without audio for our viewing pleasure. While the meanings of each film can be derived from their titles, I would have at least preferred a commentary track identifying his reasoning and drive for the images presented. As expected they are in fairly bad shape and their audio is supplemented with a non-descript neo-soul cut playing over them.


All or Nothing is a very good film that boasts incredible performances from all involved. It doesn't carry a top-drawer trio of actors, a multi million-dollar budget or the praise of the press. It does have however, a believable storyline, an engaging cast and definite re-playability. At first glance, the cover may put you off as it screams low budget indie flick. It's original title, "Urban Love Story" definitely would'nt have helped matters either. Those things aside I really urge you to check this one out. It's a good film with a lot of energy to offer. Highly Recommended

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Highly Recommended

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