Michael Diggs was a college basketball star before he was dragged into a crime and framed for the murder. After spending six years in prison, he has come back home to find his brother wayward and his mother in poor health. His former girlfriend has also moved on. Thus, Michael sets out to make an honest living and try to put his family back together, but he meets a group of street basketball players who convince him to try out for a slam dunk competition. Michael decides to go for it, especially when a crisis hits home that forces him to rely on his faith to make it through.
Production Quality (2 points)
In a shocking break from Timothy Chey’s past production disasters, Slamma Jamma, though less funded that train wrecks like Final: The Rapture or David and Goliath, is on par with industry standards. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all professional. The soundtrack is effective, though it is sometimes too in-your-face. Sets, locations, and props are highly realistic. The only real issue holding this production back is the terrible editing. There are too many disconnected scenes and sequences that make for a very choppy viewing experience. Sometimes scenes abruptly and unnecessarily transition to another, even if it seems unfinished. Needless to say, some editing kinks still need to be worked out, but this is a huge improvement for Chey and makes us wonder how this even happened, given his history.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Slamma Jamma is a typical marketable true story sports plot where all of the characters fit into perfect molds and follow predictable trajectories. While this is a pedestrian idea for the market, it is an extreme departure for Chey, which suggests a need for funding. Gone are constant bizarre and manic references to Chey’s wacky worldview as they are replaced with stereotypical inspirational sports constructs. However, it is an interesting and engaging true story, even though its large amount of content is crammed into a confining runtime that likely does not do the original story justice. While the characters are somewhat accessible, they are not developed enough as time speeds by. The whole storyline is too neat and pre-planned, which is completely uncharacteristic of Chey. But hey, everybody’s gotta start somewhere.
Acting Quality (2 points)
Unlike past psychotic casts (see Suing the Devil), this cast is actually semi-professional and seems to know what they are doing. Some acting coaching is present, even though there are still a handful of very over-acted sequences. But on the whole, emotional and line delivery are very respectable. One thing is for sure: you never know what’s going to happen next with Chey.
When compared to past Chey works, Slamma Jamma is a major improvement, which shows just how bad it was for him at one point. Now he needs to move away from market predictability and flex those creative muscles he claims to have. It’s time to do something different, only the right way, and without blowing millions of dollars on north African field trips. If Chey can harness his creativity responsibility, mute his worldview, and surround himself with a good team as he did in Slamma Jamma, he might become the most surprising film maker yet.
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points