26 December 2011 | Hey_Sweden
Not bad 80's artifact.
Passable urban action / crime flick starring Vincent Spano as Johnny, a young thug who gets into big trouble when his mobster bosses order him to torch a building, and because this is the same building in which his mom (Zohra Lampert) and sister (Jami Gertz) reside, he stalls and then ultimately defies them. If anything, "Alphabet City" is certainly a very slick affair, and it's no surprise that the director, Amos Poe, had music video experience. On the plus side, it is incredibly fast paced, and stylish, but in the end it's quite unmemorable. It's just too hard to care very much about any of these characters. The acting is generally competent but the performers are all basically playing archetypes, existing in a pretty standard story of people trying to rise above their meagre surroundings. It IS a treat to see the interesting Ms. Lampert; cult horror fans will recognize her from the 1971 favourite "Let's Scare Jessica to Death". Spano exerts a respectable amount of "cool" in the lead, with amusing support from Michael Winslow, best known as Jones from the "Police Academy" franchise who does have some dramatic moments here but also the opportunity to do some more of the sound effects shtick for which he's famous. Gorgeous Kate Vernon (daughter of the legendary John Vernon) is pleasing to look at, if not terribly convincing, in her first major role, and the same goes for the young Gertz. Familiar folk in smaller roles include Raymond Serra as the mob boss Gino, Tom Mardirosian as Benny, Tom Wright as a chauffeur, Clifton Powell as Ramon, and Miguel Pinero, creator of the stage play "Short Eyes", as a dealer. The dated pop soundtrack is good for some amusement, if also rather repetitive; the main music score is by industry great Nile Rodgers. The NYC location filming is a big, big asset. The climactic action, however, ends up descending into silliness. Overall, a fairly entertaining melodramatic little flick. Five out of 10.