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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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45 out of 72 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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12 out of 16 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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19 out of 30 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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9 out of 11 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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11 out of 18 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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21 out of 39 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:

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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Rise to Gayness

Author: portomilk from United States
15 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie has no relation to the story of Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way. I mean, where's Pachanga? Where's the Crippled? What about his whole entire back story he gave while walking down Spanish Harlem. It would've been easy to make an actual prequel instead of a series of gimmicks and cheesy endings. Like fr, bro. Carlito never escaped to paradise, he died wishing that he could settle down with Gail and raise his child. There was no relation or reference to Gail at all in this movie. Carlito was incarcerated for 4-8 years before Carlito's Way had actually started. The person who made this had no idea about the plot, setting, and story of Carlito. Basically this is just a movie about another drug dealer/ killer who was friends with Puff Daddy. They really let me down with this movie.

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Producer Michael Bregman tries to make a movie

Author: SnoopyStyle
22 August 2014

In the racially divided East Harlem in the late 60s, three prison buddies Puerto Rican Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez), the Afro-American Earl (Mario Van Peebles) and the Italian Rocco (Michael Kelly) bridge the divide. They import heroin, and does a deal with Italian mob boss Artie Badalato Sr (Burt Young). They negotiate a truce with Hollywood Nicky (Sean Combs) who runs the black area. Carlito hounds coat-check girl Leticia (Jaclyn DeSantis) until she falls for him. Earl wants to quit leaving his part to his younger brother Reggie (Mtume Gant). Only Reggie causes one problem after another.

This is what happens when a producer thinks that he could do the job. Michael Bregman took the Edwin Torres novel and made the movie himself. It's a poor amateurish effort. There are some interesting actors involved. I'm sure a lot of them got pulled in by the title. However that's all we have here. The production looks so poor. Any money spent is wasted with this badly directed movie. The only truly interesting character is Reggie because he is such an annoying punk. His unrelenting superiority attitude is actually fascinating. Otherwise there isn't much interesting here. This material deserves better.

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