Although leading man Wood Harris drew universal praise in the title role, he seems almost as enervated as the rest of this TV bio-pic. Clumsily written and insensitively directed, this sincere but leaden ode to the legendary rock star will probably appeal most strongly to Hendrix fans who want to hear his greatest hits. Born in poverty, young Jimi (Kevin Duhaney) basked in the praise of his saxophone-playing dad, Al (Dorian Harewood). Although his talents were always recognized and nurtured, Jimi's prodigious musicianship irked those for whom he eventually played back up — ego-driven stars like Little Richard (Kevin Hanchard) don't want an accompanist who was born to play solo. Although Sam Cooke's ex-wife, Faye (Vivica A. Fox), promotes Hendrix's career in Harlem, she resents his alliance with white promoter Chas Chandler (Christian Potenza), who convinces Jimi to branch out into the Greenwich Village and English music scenes. Unfortunately, Chas also introduces Jimi to ruthless manager Michael Jeffery (Billy Zane), who solidifies Jimi's rise to prominence while treating him like a cash cow. When he realizes he can do nothing further to boost Jimi's career, Chas parts company with Jimi. Without this sounding board, Jimi begins treating his band members badly, while charting new artistic ground and engaging in a series of showdowns with conservative record companies. Meanwhile, Jeffery works him into the ground. Forever striving to hone his genius, an exhausted Hendrix becomes a victim of his fame; unable to balance art and commerce, he dies of a barbiturate overdose on September 18, 1970 at the age of 27. The facts of Handrix's life and career are all here: His breakthrough concerts, affiliation with the Black Panthers, fabulous rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." But writers Hal Roberts, Butch Stein and Art Washington and director Leon Ichaso seem to have been laboring under the mistaken belief that merely exhuming Rolling Stone headlines results in penetrating biography. Sadly, this docudrama has none of the fierceness that characterized Hendrix's music and personal life.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: R
- Review: Although leading man Wood Harris drew universal praise in the title role, he seems almost as enervated as the rest of this TV bio-pic. Clumsily written and insensitively directed, this sincere but leaden ode to the legendary rock star will probably appeal… (more)