King of New York (1990)

R   |    |  Crime, Thriller


King of New York (1990) Poster

A drug kingpin is released from prison and seeks to take total control of the criminal underworld in order to give back to the community.

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7/10
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  • Christopher Walken and Janet Julian in King of New York (1990)
  • Christopher Walken and Janet Julian in King of New York (1990)
  • Giancarlo Esposito and Nicholas St. John in King of New York (1990)
  • Freddie Jackson and Dhonna Harris Goodale in King of New York (1990)
  • Steve Buscemi in King of New York (1990)
  • David Caruso and Wesley Snipes in King of New York (1990)

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13 January 2011 | barrwell
7
| this is a violent but solid little sleeper; gangster film highlighted by Walkens and Fishburnes performances.
King of New York, while not a classic, is a gritty, drug-lord gangster flick in the same vein as films like 'New Jack City' and 'American Gangster'. If you like this type of movie then King of New York is definitely worth a look. Frank White (Christopher Walken) has just been released from prison and wants to get back together with his gang, take over the New York drug trade, and become a modern robin hood. This little known film somehow flew under the radar when released in 1990 but is just as entertaining as the movies I listed above.

New York detective Dennis Gilley (David Caruso) is sick and tired of seeing drug lords like Frank run amuck in his city and is ready to cross any line…indeed to do whatever it takes, including murder, to take Frank down. Dennis' captain Roy Bishop (the late Victor Argo) wants Frank busted too, but he wants to do it by the book and tries to control his subordinates to no avail.

One prolonged climactic sequence of this movie is virtually worth the price of admission; when Dennis and his group disguise themselves and infiltrate Frank's hideout while they are partying one night. The place erupts in a frenzy of gunfire as we try to distinguish just who is who and eventually the scene spills outside and evolves into a high speed car chase and shoot out as the cops chase Frank and his number two man Jimmy Jump (Laurence Fishburne) through the streets of New York. This protracted scene lasts about 15 minutes and is dynamite….you may find yourself rewinding to watch it again!

There is no conventional movie ending here, in fact it is a rather bleak and downcast wrap-up, but then this is no typical Hollywood film. The acting however is top notch, with Walken delivering as usual, Caruso bringing a surprising amount of intensity to his role, and the then-unknown Wesley Snipes effective as Caruso's partner. The standout to me though is Fishburne, who gives an over the top performance as the psychotic, volatile Jimmy Jump. It's worth watching for this performance alone. That is….if you like an action packed, violent gangster film…and if not, you're probably not still reading this anyway, so enjoy.

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