Paulie’s Perspective: The Harder They Fall (2021) Review

Dir: Jeymes Samuel

Starring: Jonathan Majors; Zazie Beetz; Regina King; Idris Elba

Written: Jeymes Samuel; Boaz Yakin.

I was watching this movie, and I was thinking to myself, how in the world did this thing ever get made? I mean it is bad. This film is beyond bad. So I went to the credits to see what happened. 

Jeymes Samuel is a music producer from London, England. He worked with Jay-Z and Baz Lurhmann as a music consultant on the film The Great Gatsby. Jeymes releases music under the name The Bullitts, after the Steve McQueen film Bullitt. Jeymes also has a famous brother, the grammy award winning musician,  Seal. Yes, THAT Seal. 

So I looked at the credits and noticed Jay-Z was one of the top exec producers, so I gather he greenlit the thing, and of course with his name attached, everyone wanted to participate.

This is a Netflix original, so there were no big hoops to jump through, and of course Netflix loves to get some street credit whenever it can, so when Jay-Z pitches something, I am sure they were delighted to oblige.

Problem is, Jeymes is just horrible at making films. The man has the connections, and he has the practice, but this film is just bad – almost unwatchable. I am thinking a powerful, loved man like Jay-Z mentioned a cowboy picture with an all-black cast and everyone just agreed without reading a word of the script. 

Jeymes has tried this before. For some reason he fancies himself a writer, which he is certainly not. Jeymes wrote and directed a film in 2013 called They Die By Dawn, another all black western film, which no one picked up but was shown at the Austin Film Festival. He was set to do a follow up to that film in 2014 but they never happened, I’m sure for good reason. 

So here we are 8 years later and Jeymes tried again, and I never saw They Die By Dawn, but I’m guessing the results were more of the same, just bad.

The film is stylish, and shot well, and that holds your attention for about 8 minutes. I was excited to see Regina King (Watchmen) and Jonathan Majors (from Love Craft Country) both HBO alumni. They had their hits and I was so happy to see them get into movies, but this was just a wrong step. This film has no emotion, no logic, no reasoning and no feeling at all. Nothing is even clever about it. Robbing banks, robbing trains, shootouts, all of it has no brains, happens extremely easily and is just annoyingly ridiculous. 

A huge waste here is a favorite talent of mine, Idris Elba. I turned the movie on mainly for him, as I am a huge fan of the guy. I am still rooting for him to be the next James Bond, but I doubt that’s gonna happen. Idris is a villain so mean, and did such horrific things (we never know what) that the American Government gave him a full pardon because they were embarrassed by him.  (I know, makes no sense) So when Idris is set free another gang re-unites to bring him down. Well Idris does not do a single crime once he is set free. Strange for such a bad man with such bad tendencies.

This story would have been better if Jeymes gave it to an 8 year old to read to and do re-writes. It has that immaturity and that love of childish violence that little boys love. Jeymes may be great at making music and producing hit records, but filmmaking is something still beyond his comprehension.  

When you have very powerful friends and family, a lot of doors open for you. That doesn’t mean you should walk through them. Filmmaking seems to be something Jeymes is very passionate about, I suggest he study it more and maybe get better help next time, before we all Die Before Dawn.