The Trap – (Netflix) I watch it so you don’t have to.

   It must seem like I try to find awful films to review. Honestly, I really do not. Unfortunately, I decided to watch The Trap. Where to start, where to start. I am writing this as I watch the film because there is no other way I could finish watching it otherwise.

    The film is only twenty minutes in. I may finish writing the review before the film ends. So far the film is, to this point, an abomination. Starring Tip ’T.I’ Harris and Mike Epps as brothers, Sonny and Dutch. I should have known this would not be a good film as soon as I heard the voiceover. The voiceover is rarely a good sign.

    Sonny, the younger brother, moved away from the family home and has worked his way up in the restaurant business and is a respected chef. He returns home to see his mother, Mama Jay (Loretta Devine) and finds out she is sick. 

   Whilst back in town he sees that the family chicken shop, Blazin’ Jay’s, has fallen into disrepair under the stewardship of his brother, Dutch – or Mike Epps being Mike Epps. Whilst arguing with his brother, the mother collapses and is rushed to the hospital. In the hospital, they are told by Dr Obayuwana (Queen Latifah) that their mother needs an operation and is dying. They must raise one hundred thousand dollars.

    T. I., better known as a rapper, has taken the well-worn path to the screen boy many a 90’s and 00’s rapper. LL Cool J, P Diddy, Eminem, Common and even, if you can call it acting, 50 Cent. To varying degrees, all have been successful. LL Cool J is not even thought of as a rapper anymore.

   T. I. will not be following LL. On this evidence, there is no hope. He is not an actor and this film proves it. He is terrible. Wooden and not at all convincing as a chef, brother or even a lover. He is next level awful. 

    The man wrecks every scene he is in and he is, as the star of the film, in almost every scene. I have not seen a rapper this bad in a film since RZA made the diabolically awful The Man With The Iron Fist. As for Mike Epps, he is Mike Epps. I am pretty sure that was all the direction he was given –  Be Mike Epps. 

    The story, such that is, sees Dutch get involved with the local drug lord, K. P. (Stephen Bishop) and agrees to move a couple pounds of weed every week. When the police unexpectedly burst into the chicken shop to stop a fight, Dutch accidentally stumbles upon a new way to help the family business, when the weed falls into the fryer, creating the ‘secret’ ingredient in the chicken,  that proves spectacularly popular. 

    With their mother’s health issues, the brothers decide to carry on using the weed in the chicken, even though Sonny is reluctant to. When K.P. finds out that they have been putting weed in the chicken, he decides that the chicken shop would make a great front for his business and also be good for laundering the money. 

   Sonny, who is involved with a local policewoman he has known since his youth, Sasha (Meagan Tandy), wants to get out of the deal Dutch has gotten them in to.

K. P. does not care what Sonny wants and threatens to harm their sick mother. Sasha happens upon them all when passing the chicken shop and sees K. P. and his henchmen pointing guns at the brothers. There is a shootout and then the police sweep in and arrest K. P. 

    Their mother gets her operation and is fine, the business flourishes and everyone lives happily ever after. The end. Everyone that is except me.

What an unholy amount of tripe this film is. To say it was awful is an insult to the word ‘awful’! There needs to be more adjectives to describe just how bad this film is.

   With T. I. and Epps taking the lead, it falls to the supporting cast to display anything resembling credible acting. Uphill does not even begin to describe how herculean a task bringing any sort of life to the script is. The film is credited as having four writers. There is no way all four found this dross funny. 

   Directed – ha! – by Erik White, I can only think he turned on the cameras, made sure they were in focus and then went off to his real job. No one is directed in this film, except maybe to their marks.

I do not expect a masterwork when watching a comedy. All I ask is that it makes me laugh. That is the minimum requirement. Not everyone finds the same things funny, I get that, but this film would not be amusing even if one was drunk or high.

   If you are going to sell your film as a comedy, put some funny in it. The Trap is not funny. With the exception of the two leads, the acting is not too bad. Stephen Bishop’s K. P. is a scary villain and Joel Rush as Sasha’s jealous and duplicitous partner, Powers, is good.

   Even Teyana Taylor as Sherri, Dutch’s uncouth, street rough girlfriend is good. That is about it though. This is ninety minutes of your life you do not want to devote to this particular piece on Netflix. Avoid. You are welcome. 


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