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Carlito's Way: Rise to Power
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Carlito's Way: Rise to Power (V) More at IMDbPro »

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47 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

A disgrace

Author: The_Pat_Bateman from United States
19 September 2005

Where can I begin. I heard this movie was coming out and I was very mad. I am a huge fan of the original Carlito's Way and when I heard about this, I thought it would be just like almost all the other sequels that come out in Hollywood. I thought it would be bad. Boy was I wrong, this movie was much worse than I expected. Not saying all sequels are bad, but thats the problem with Hollywood these days, they make too many sequels and remakes and rush them. This was not a theater release, it is a DVD release. Still, in my opinion, there was no reason at all for this to be made. After I heard about this film was in progress, I then later heard Pacino was not in it. That right away killed any chance this movie had of being good. Why did I check this movie out then some of you may ask? Well I had the opportunity to see it so I did. I don't only watch movies that I have high expectations of, I had low expectations on this one obviously. I just wanted to see if it would have anything relevant in it. Now, if any of you reading this are a Carlito's Way fan, you know a lot of the story in the first one has to do with him going to jail.

*VERY MINOR SPOILER* I wont ruin anything, because this may actually make you not want to waste 2 hours watching this trash. All I will say is- in the end of Carlito's Way 2, we don't see Carlito go to jail. Now, I don't know about any of you, but I would have thought a prequel to Carlitos Way would show how he ended up in jail. I even had some interest in actually seeing what happened.

Now, thats not my only problem with the film. The actor who played Carlito did not do too bad a job, but he could not have saved this film if he tried. There's not even all those little things that should be thrown in there that Carlito's Way fans would like. You don't see any appearance of Kleinfeld or other key characters in the first one, I would have liked to see something like that. What is even worse, is Luis Guzman is in this film, yet he doesn't play the same character he plays in the first film. Big mistake on their part, why cast the same actor for a different character, it made the movie worse than it already was.

Bottom line, I am a Carlito's Way fan, this new straight to DVD release is a disgrace. If you are a fan, don't watch this movie coming in with high expectations. This movie did basically nothing for me, and it is definitely one movie I wont be picking up on DVD, or watching ever again.

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20 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

The Beginning of a Criminal Life

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1 December 2006

In the 60's, the Puerto Rican Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez), the Afro-American Earl (Mario Van Peebles) and the Italian Rocco (Michael Kelly) become best friends while in prison. When they are released, Rocco intermediates a heroin business with a family of the Italian Mafia leaded by Artie Bottolota Sr. (Burt Young). Carlito negotiates with the lord Leroy "Hollywood Nicky" Barnes (Sean Combs) the area where the trio could operate in his neighborhood and sooner the three friends become powerful. Later, Carlito dates and has an affair with the beautiful Leticia (Jaclyn DeSantis). When Earl decides to move to Barbados with his girlfriend and leave the heroin business, his stupid younger brother causes a situation with the Italian mobsters, and Carlito and Rocco have to resolve the mess to save their lives.

"Carlito's Way: Rise to Power" is not as bad as written in many reviews in IMDb. Actually it is a good story, with the beginning of the criminal life of Carlito, showing his ability to negotiate. The story has good doses of humor, a decent plot and a surprising twist in the end. I do not dare to compare this movie with the excellent Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, but I personally liked the explanations of the criminal life of Carlito and his friends. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Pagamento Final: Rumo ao Poder" ("The Final Payment: in the Way to the Power")

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Not Worth Watching...Just watch Carlito's Way again instead.

Author: dbest_13 from Canada
16 December 2008

This was just a terrible movie. It hurt me to watch it. Almost every action was unmotivated within the context of the movie, the acting was really poor (P.Diddy was the best actor which really says something about the movie) and the plot was generally predictable. Some links to Carlito's Way were okay, for example his dream of one day moving to the Carribien, but on the whole they were weak. The love interest in my opinion was flat out wrong but hey that's debatable. Anyways I really wasn't expecting much before watching the movie and I guess you could say even those expectations weren't met. I feel bad for Jay Hernandez because he actually is a decent actor (Friday Night Lights). He's lucky though because I'm sure there won't be too many people watching this movie. I generally give movies a decent rating if they spark my interest at all so I'm gonna go ahead and give this one two stars. Better luck next time. And yes I did enjoy Carlito's Way.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

not a prequel

Author: joethefilmgeek from Australia
13 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why oh why do people take good material and feel the need to change it some how? Having read the book on which this film is allegedly based a couple of years ago, I can say that there is little if anything from the original book. I went into this film with low expectations - i knew it would have a crappy telemovie feel to it - but it even failed to meet these.

This is not a prequel - the only relationship it has with the original is the name. This is not the story of Carlito Brigante, it is the story of a totally different character who's been given the same name. They have just totally spat in the face of every Carlito's Way fan out there; adding insult to injury by casting Luis Guzman, who plays a crucial character in the original movie, in a different role.

What's most disappointing is that now that this film has been made no other film will be made addressing the original, untouched material of the book Carlito's Way - something I really would have liked to have seen. I felt the same way about Chopper - they have four books as well as interviews worth of fantastic non-fictional material and could have made a brilliant biography of Australia's most feared underworld figure, instead they made a ho-hum film about a deranged but strangely pathetic small time crook (though Eric Bana's performance was spot-on). Now we will never get to see Carlito's real initial rise and fall.

The three stars is because, looking at it purely as a stand-alone flick, it is not so appalling - there are some decent performances (Jay Hernandez is no Carlito but he could be good in other roles) and the story is not too bad. Even Puffy Combs suits his role. But they totally misunderstand the nature of the underworld at that time (I am a bit of a crime-non-fiction buff)- something which the original film and the books got right (having been written by then attorney and now judge Edwin Torres).

The fact is though, it's not a stand alone - it's perhaps the most disappointing prequel ever filmed.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:


Author: ironman466 from United States
5 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow...what can I say...First off IMDb says this is in the late 60s...which means Carlito would be very close to going to prison, He got out in 75 and said he was in for 5 years. They used a bunch of nobody actors, and a story that didn't even make sense. They bring back only one actor, Guzman, and hes playing a totally different guy. Why did it end with him and this Puerto Rican chick? Wheres Gale? He said he was in love with her before. Wheres Kleinfeld? He said he knew him forever...You'd think he'd have been in this one. And if this made sense, where are Rocco and the black dude in the first one? It was all just stupid...This is an insult to Pacino and the first film.

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22 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Total Disappointment...

Author: soundtrax43 from United States
16 December 2005

If you hit your head with a shovel, write the script with your feet, you may come close to the intelligence level of this movie. There is nothing in this movie that hasn't been done a thousand times in other gangster flicks and done much better. Those who think "Scarface" was some kind of hero to be looked up to or saw "Goodfellas", "Menace II Society" or "Dead Presidents" and thought MMM "That's the life for me!" will like this movie. I thought I'd give the movie a chance, since the premise was perfect for a prequel. I should have known better after seeing Mario Van Peebles and Sean Combs were involved. Anyone above a 4th grade education, see the original with Pacino, a real actor, and be satisfied.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hernandez almost mirrors Pacino in this underrated and entertaining prequel

Author: JSwallowX1 from Ireland
15 July 2011

The producer of the masterpiece 1993 gangster film "Carlito's Way", Michael Bregman, brings the novel "Carlito's Way" by Edwin Torres to the screen as a prequel to the events in the 1993 film. That film was based on the book's sequel "After Hours", but to avoid confusion with the 1985 Martin Scorsese film, the title was changed to the title of the first book.

New York, sometime in the 1960's, Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez in a superb performance) is a young Puerto Rican thug about to be released from prison. He became good friends with two men in prison, the African-American Earl, and the Italian-American Rocco. When they are released, Rocco and Earl go into business together in the prospecting heroin trade in New York City and ask Carlito to join them. But Carlito's old street ways of violence and sharp tongue can only serve to get him and the other guys into big trouble in this business, especially with 'Hollywood Nicky', the powerful black man who overlooks the heroin trade in New York City, and makes sure that the Italians keep to their side, the blacks to theirs, and the Puerto Ricans remain in the middle. As Carlito and the gang move up in the ranks and become feared and respected in their part of the city, Carlito begins a relationship with a nice Puerto Rican girl who isn't very aware of his real lifestyle, and things get messy when Earl's younger brother, a black revolutionist, causes some trouble with the Italians that they are in business with. Before I even mention how underrated this film is, I want to point out what a great actor Jay Hernandez is. As yet, he has never gotten his true break which I think he deserves. He has appeared in well known films such as "World Trade Centre", "Hostel" and "Quarantine" - the American remake of the French horror film "Rec". He is brilliant here portraying a younger, slick Carlito Brigante, in a performance that almost mirrors Al Pacino's in "Carlito's Way". He must have spent hours watching that film in preparation for this role. Mario Van Peebles ("Jaws: The Revenge", "New Jack City") is brilliant as Earl. 'P-Diddy' stars alongside Hernandez as Hollywood Nicky in a very good performance, and strangely, and this I have to admit was very stupid, Luiz Guzman, who starred in a prominent role in "Carlito's Way", plays a crack-pot hit-man in a very eccentric and weird performance that seemed unnecessary. Why could they not have chosen a different actor? It was just off-putting having an actor from the first film playing a totally different, non-related character. The editing is perfect and the film flows at a fine pace and is very entertaining. I don't understand all the negativity surrounding the film, probably just because of what it is as usually, prequels or sequels of any kind receive a lot of sometimes exaggerating negativity and abuse. But "Carlito's Way: Rise to Power" is a brilliant prequel, albeit flawed, but is still a fine tribute to one of the greatest gangster films ever made.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Rise to Power

Author: random_avenger
21 October 2010

American director Brian De Palma's best known work is probably the 1983 crime epic Scarface starring Al Pacino, but its thematic companion piece Carlito's Way (1993) has plenty of fans too. Of course, eventually a prequel was produced for the latter, chronicling the eponymous Carlito's initial rise to the status he wishes to relinquish in the original film.

At the beginning in the 1960s, Puerto Rican hoodlum Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez) is doing time for petty crimes when he meets two incarcerated criminal bosses in the prison. With the black Earl (Mario Van Peebles) and the Italian Rocco (Michael Kelly), Carlito sets up a drug trading business in Harlem, New York, upsetting the delicate situation between the rivaling ethnic groups controlling the area's criminal activities. The main rivals being an Italian family the Bottolotas and the empire led by a suave black gangster boss named Hollywood Nicky (Sean Combs), Carlito and his associates find their place between the two opposites, doing favours for both whenever necessary. His wealth increases and he starts a relationship with a girl named Leticia (Jaclyn DeSantis), but the gangster lifestyle is not without its hazards.

Despite the change of director and lead actor, the expected elements of an urban gangster tale are all there: self-confident, hotheaded thugs, badass crime lords, honour codes, bloody vendettas... Even though I miss De Palma's touch with long takes and big chase scenes, I think director Bregman handles the storytelling decently, if less memorably. The colourful lighting in the atmospheric nightclubs is as good-looking as in the first movie and the authentic New York exterior locations always provide a great backdrop for the scenes of tough street life. Making the 1960s setting more evident could have added a nice touch to the whole though.

Since we already know the conclusion of Carlito Brigante's story from the first movie, the prequel does not feel the need to examine his actions from a moral point of view very much. Perhaps for the same reason character development has been left rather faint too, even though the story superficially tries to provide different sides to Carlito's personality, such as romantic, brotherly and ruthless. Jay Hernandez may not be as charismatic as Al Pacino, but I don't have major complaints about his acting, or almost anyone else's for that matter. Mario Van Peebles delivers one of the best performances in the movie, as does the always good Luis Guzmán as a hit-man Nacho Reyes, a role different from what he played in the first film. Sean 'Diddy' Combs' role as Hollywood Nicky remains pretty forgettable though, partly due to the way the character has been written, partly to Combs' emotionless 'cool' appearance.

For a straight-to-DVD movie Carlito's Way: Rise to Power succeeds far better than could be expected. It doesn't present anything new within its genre or provide interesting ponderings about the morals of crime, but I find it to be a perfectly watchable gangster flick. Though smaller in scale than the first film, Rise to Power can nevertheless be recommended (with some reservations) to fans of the Brigante saga.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not as bad as most direct to DVD movies

Author: redwhiteblue5087 from United Kingdom
23 February 2008

Having read some of the negative reviews, I approached this with low expectations, but straight away was surprised by the good cast and classy production values, which were much higher than the usual movies released straight to DVD. Although not specifically a prequel, as it seems to be set in the same decade as the Pacino film, it stars the likable Hernandez playing the same charismatic character. The story kept you entertained all the way through until the end, which was the only slight disappointment. The final shoot out was a little anticlimactic, but managed to tie up the loose ends satisfactorily enough. Overall, worth a watch if you enjoy gangster movies, but don't set your expectations too high.

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13 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

For Those Who Aren't Ignorant.

Author: SCVUnlimited101 from United States
5 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie wasn't bad. This comment isn't for people who haven't seen the movie, its for people who didn't understand the movie, like a number of the people commenting this board.

The movie is called "Carlito's Way: RISE TO POWER," hence why it displayed him rising to power. Had it been called something like, "Carlito's Way: Rise to Power and The His Arrest," or something to that extent I Would have been disappointed in the lack of jail time at the end of the movie too.

This movie did just what it had planned to do, it showed Carlito's Rise to Power which involved pushing heroin, dealing with Nicky, dating Leticia, and his involvement with the Italians. Basically, him rising to power, and gaining his immense wealth. That's the movie. It's a prequel because it comes before Carlito's Way, the sequel.

It obviously didn't tell of his relationship with Gail, or what put him in jail. Perhaps that's for a story of another movie. Say Carlito is in his late 20s to early 30s, I don't know his age, and then say he's in his late 40s when played by Al Pacino. Therefore there's still about 15 years unexplained if not more. I can't recall how many years he was in jail before "Carlito's Way" but if it was less than ten they'd have to skip around 5 years at the end of "Rise to Power" to get to him being put in jail. That would have confused you even more.

If you happen to think that a prequel MUST lead up to a sequel, you'd be incorrect. One of the most popular sagas of all time shows you this. In Star Wars Episode 1, Anakin is a child, next thing you know he's a grown man. What happened in between? How was puberty for a Jedi? All the questions in between are unanswered, whether you ask them or not. The prequel did not simply lead you through every second until the sequel. Episode 3 is the prequel to Episode 4, but Luke's entire life is unanswered. Doesn't make Episode 3 a horrible prequel does it?

If you want, make up your own "Carlito's Way: Downfall," I don't care, but don't say it was a horrible movie. It was a well done movie and well acted. It showed you a portion of Carlito's life you hadn't seen before. If you can't get over the fact that they didn't lead up to his arrest, then you're missing out on a good movie for a dumb reason.

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