A former drug lord returns from prison determined to wipe out all his competition and distribute the profits of his operations to New York's poor and lower classes in this stylish and ultra violent modern twist on Robin Hood.
The gangster Nino has a gang who call themselves Cash Money Brothers. They get into the crack business and not before long they make a million dollars every week. A cop, Scotty, is after them. He tries to get into the gang by letting an ex-drug addict infiltrate the gang, but the attempt fails miserably. The only thing that remains is that Scotty himself becomes a drug pusher. Written by
Story is largely based on real-life Detroit gang, The Chambers Brothers. Writer Barry Michael Cooper got the idea for the film after visiting Detroit and learning about the gang's exploits. See more »
In the beginning of the film where the credits were being rolled along with the New York Skyline, The World Financial Center did exist in the year 1986, but much of the commercial complex was under construction as well as Battery Park City. Two World Financial Center (the building with the round dome rooftop) was under construction at that year and didn't finish completion until 1987; one year after the time setting. See more »
A flawed crime drama, but it has some things going for it.
New Jack City is a pretty standard affair which tackles the drug problem which plagues America's streets, more so during the time that this film is set, that being the late 1980's. It delivers it in such a way that you just know there are some flaws abound yet pin pointing them is a pretty hard thing to do, this is probably why the film seems to have such a love/hate relationship with most people, hence the films mediocre rating of about 'average'.
One thing is for sure, and this glares throughout, is the sloppy editing this film has. It's quick, disorientating, dodgy montage editing technique which crops up now and again is a throw back to what poor edit jobs on television programmes were like and now and again, the camera seems to cut away a little too quickly when someone is giving a line of dialogue; this was very frustrating as just a little bit of lingering camera now and again would have made the film a little more atmospheric. At times, it felt a little like a music video given the chorus of song that sometimes some characters burst into. This was another little annoying flaw which cropped up two or three times. This is a shame as the film had rolled along fairly nicely.
Another thing was the characters themselves. Everyone just seemed to be a little too 'whiney'. They were all too scared to stand up to everybody else, and this included Snipes' character (The so-called black Tony Montana) who really only agreed and went with the flow throughout. Nobody really seemed to actually take charge of the whole set up and authority was only really drilled home after exactly an hour on the clock when, during a scene involving everyone involved, Nino Brown (Snipes) pierces someone's hand with some sort of hidden ice pick he has built into his cane. This was a shame as a shocking; violent scene like this earlier on in the film would have worked wonders and would have punched home any doubts we might have over Brown not being the man to lead this operation we've been introduced to.
I didn't like the construction of some of the scenes, either. This fault is twinned with the bad editing (already mentioned) and one in particular is with the relative ease in which Brown's gang manages to take over a multi storey building. This was early on in the film and this was another chance to stamp some ruthlessness and authority into the film, particularly once again with the character of Nino Brown. The odd execution or anything else the writers could have come up with that Brown maybe would have done would have been most welcome, however instead of good crime film conventions we get sloppy editing with the siege over in a flash as well as a bad hierarchy montage. It's also about as bloodthirsty as an episode of 'Barney the Dinosaur'. This is also a shame as this was a good chance for an action scene of some sort, following on from the good chase scene at the very start of the film.
One other thing was the rather forceful and abrupt message at the end which wasn't too well timed given we're not NEARLY given enough time to catch our breath from the films climax. A pause, some better music and then the title would have done. What's the rush?
Apart from these things, the acting from the police characters; including the internal feud between two of them and the whole involvement of a rehabilitated character joining in was good and was used well to create some suspense in the film, most notably the drug factory scene, even if his behaviour WAS a little unprofessional. I can see why this spring boarded Snipes' career as there are some things going for it but I couldn't give it a second watch so soon after the first and not everyone will like this film but if you go into it knowing of these few flaws I've talked about, it could be a very entertaining crime drama.
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