New Jack City (1991)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama


New Jack City (1991) Poster

A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.


6.7/10
31,142


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  • Ice-T and Chris Rock in New Jack City (1991)
  • Ice-T and Mario Van Peebles in New Jack City (1991)
  • Chris Rock in New Jack City (1991)
  • Ice-T and Mario Van Peebles in New Jack City (1991)
  • Mario Van Peebles in New Jack City (1991)
  • Wesley Snipes in New Jack City (1991)

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31 July 2005 | mstomaso
7
| Fast paced ghetto gangsta fantasy with an important message
Van Peebles directs a great cast in this detached-from-reality film about a truly evil drug-lord with a head for business and murder (Snipes), and a tough, street-wise pair of cops (Ice-T and Judd Nelson) hell-bent on bringing him down. The message is an important one - slogans are not going to win the war on drugs, and the way the message is carried in the film is more subtle than you might expect. The end of the film makes the point very clear, and I won't discuss it because I do not write spoilers. Like many of the more intelligent films made in the early 1990s, New Jack City is also an indictment of the euphoria of the Reagan years - telling the true story of what that time was like for those living from paycheck to paycheck, or trying to live without one, and dealing with the invisible "war on drugs" which had little to no effect on anybody in our inner-city neighborhoods.

Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne and Chris Rock give stand-out performances, and the rest of the cast provide excellent support. The film also stars New York City, and definitely has an NYC flavor (seasoned with more than a pinch of Hollywood). The cinematography is a little breathless - not unusual for the genre but in this case a bit extreme. The script is good, but perhaps too dense with rich plot details. And the editing provides a few pacing problems toward the middle of the film which, combined with the over-abundance of subplots, detract from the development of the main themes. The soundtrack is excellent - including a nice mix of hip-hop, rap, contemporary soul, and dance music - all blended nicely with the imagery of the film. Van Peebles style is well developed in this film, but I felt that some aspects of the plot were a little too outrageous for the seriousness of the film's message, and I fear that the message may have been lost on many of the film's viewers.

Overall, this is a good film. Entertaining and thoughtful, but definitely not for everybody.

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,039,622 10 March 1991

Gross USA:

$47,624,353

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,624,353

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