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King of New York (1990)

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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.

Director:

Abel Ferrara
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Walken ... Frank White
David Caruso ... Dennis Gilley
Laurence Fishburne ... Jimmy Jump (as Larry Fishburne)
Victor Argo ... Roy Bishop
Wesley Snipes ... Thomas Flanigan
Janet Julian ... Jennifer
Joey Chin Joey Chin ... Larry Wong
Giancarlo Esposito ... Lance
Paul Calderon ... Joey Dalesio
Steve Buscemi ... Test Tube
Theresa Randle ... Raye
Leonard L. Thomas ... Blood (as Leonard Lee Thomas)
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Tanner (as Roger Smith)
Carrie Nygren Carrie Nygren ... Melanie
Ernest Abuba Ernest Abuba ... King Tito
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Storyline

After completing a lengthy prison sentence, one-time drug kingpin Frank White returns to New York intent on reestablishing his empire and making things as they were before he left. Others of course have taken over the business during his absence but that clearly isn't going to stop White. While he is gunning down the opposition, he decides he's going to give away the money he'll make to modernize the hospital in his old neighborhood. Drug dealers aren't the only thing he has to worry about however: a group of rogue cops decide they are going to take him down. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where "Scarface" left off... "King of New York" begins. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 1991 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

King of New York See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,554,476
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shootout between the Chinese gang and Christopher Walken's crew was filmed in the same alley featured in China Girl (1987), also directed by Ferrara, in Downtown Manhattan. See more »

Goofs

In the car chase, the right headlight gets knocked out in the dark sedan, but later shots of the chase show both headlights working on all three cars. See more »

Quotes

Jump: He's a fucking glitter-boy! He's looking to get sprayed, laid, played, and slayed. You know what I'm saying?
Frank White: I heard that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Orignally rated "X", edited and changed for R rating on appeal. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinemadonna: Dangerous Game (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Strivin'
Written by Lavaba / T. Lewis
Performed by Party Posse
Courtesy of Jive Records
Published by Zomba Enterprises Inc. ASCAP/Willesden Music Inc. BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Style Over Substance
13 October 2005 | by jack_thursbySee all my reviews

This is a strange movie. The IMDb trivia notes for the movie state that the director and writer spent five years working on the script, yet the story is disjointed and doesn't have a strong plot. The story basically follows the life of drug kingpin Frank White (Christopher Walken) after he is released from prison and re-enters the criminal world to reclaim his drug empire. However, there's not much character development and many of the characters are one dimensional. And the movie could be called over-stylized.

Yet, somehow it all works and this movie, while not a classic, could be considered a cult classic for its great cinematography, superb acting performances, tense action sequences, its cinematic risk taking and its outright coolness. For a movie shot in the late 80's (released in 1990) its ahead of its time.

Christopher Walken gives a great performance as Frank White. Many viewers who may only know Walken from his more recent appearances as "the weird but cool guy" will be surprised by the multifaceted performance he gives here. The late Victor Argo's performance as White's nemesis on the police force, Roy Bishop, should also be noted. Argo gives a note perfect, yet nuanced portrayal, of a weary, "seen it all" cop who is determined to get his man.

Wesley Snipes and Laurence Fishburne were still early in their film careers while appearing in this movie, but you can clearly see the qualities that would make them stars. Both bring depth and realism to their otherwise stock characters. David Caruso also does a great job with his character. One of the shortcomings of the movie is that there's no strong female lead... Frank White has a relationship with one of his attorney's, Jennifer (Janet Julian), but the script leaves out a lot of details (e.g., why they are together in the first place). In fact, all the women in this movie look like models which only adds to the stylized unreality the movie creates.

Finally, I have to mention the oldschool rap soundtrack which fits the proceedings to a "t".

If you are a fan of crime/action movies, "King of New York" comes recommended, but fair warning, its not your typical gangsta flick.


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