The RZA-Directed, Azealia Banks-Fronted Hip-Hop Drama ‘Love Beats Rhymes’ Looks Kind of Terrible

Banks stars as Coco, a would-be rapper who learns how to "put herself into her music."

When Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA made the move from film acting and soundtrack work to directing, the project was unsurprising: The Man With the Iron Fists, a grindhouse-style martial arts flick of the variety he’d been sampling musically since, oh, the very first Wu-Tang records. He next sat in the director’s chair for an episode of Iron Fist, so apparently he’ll direct anything with the words “iron” and “fist” in the title – but again, that’s a martial arts series (if you consider what Finn Jones is doing there to be “martial arts”) so y’know, no-brainer. And now we have his second feature film, Love Beats Rhymes, and it’s about hip-hop, so it’s right in his wheelhouse – except that it’s an earnest, Azealia Banks-fronted drama about “finding your voice” as a rapper via slam poetry. No, really:

Is it just us, or is it sort of shocking to see RZA’s name attached to something so… corny? We’ve seen this story a million times before, the classroom conflation of poetry and rap was trite when Dangerous Minds trotted it out 22 years ago, and if dialogue like “Your father and I made sacrifices for you” and “You’re mad now, use it” aren’t tired enough, having your protagonist announce “I got one shot” on the way into a rap battle sort of seals the whole “unofficial 8 Mile remake” thing, no?

But hey, maybe it’s just a bad trailer. We’ll find out when Love Beats Rhymes hits theaters, digital HD, and VOD on December 1.