Like the best horror films, “Rock The Bells” is an exercise in tension. Although billed as a concert documentary, Bells is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, and is far more exciting than most Hollywood fare these days.
The film’s protagonist is an affable concert promoter named Chang. Coming off a string of successful shows, Chang attempts the impossible: booking the entire Wu-Tang Clan for his inaugural Rock The Bells concert. After much work Chang convinces 9 of the 10 members (including Cappadonna) to appear at the concert, albeit as separate acts. The RZA, impressed by Chang’s determination, eventually agrees to appear as well, and, in so doing, certifies it as an official Wu reunion. And that’s when the movie gets good.
As Chang and his team scramble to pull off their ambitious project, things being to unravel around them. On the day of the concert security shows up late, equipment malfunctions (forcing Chali 2na and DJ Nu-Mark to freestyle their entire set), disgruntled fans overrun security checkpoints, and – worst of all – ODB refuses to leave his hotel room. Perched precariously between utter disaster and sublime triumph, Chang pushes on, absolutely convinced that his show will succeed. The filmmakers capture the moment perfectly; watching Chang try to placate 10,000 near-riotous fans and plead with a cracked-out ODB is compelling stuff.
Speaking of ODB, the film also serves as a powerful testament to his life and legacy. Much of the film is dedicated to eulogizing the popular Wu member, and one of the DVD special features is a powerful interview with ODB’s former bodyguard.
Check this film out for sure, even if you aren’t a Wu fan. It’s easily one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.