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New Jack City (1991)

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

Director:

Mario Van Peebles

Writers:

Thomas Lee Wright (story), Thomas Lee Wright (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,737 ( 338)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wesley Snipes ... Nino Brown
Ice-T ... Scotty Appleton (as Ice T)
Allen Payne ... Gee Money
Chris Rock ... Pookie
Mario Van Peebles ... Stone
Michael Michele ... Selina
Bill Nunn ... Duh Duh Duh Man
Russell Wong ... Park
Bill Cobbs ... Old Man
Christopher Williams Christopher Williams ... Kareem Akbar
Judd Nelson ... Nick Peretti
Vanessa Williams ... Keisha
Tracy Camilla Johns ... Uniqua
Anthony DeSando ... Frankie Needles
Nick Ashford ... Reverend Oates
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Storyline

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 Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It was a time that there was a new gangster in......... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, drug content, sensuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Cidade do Novo Paraíso See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,039,622, 10 March 1991, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$47,624,253
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Ice-T recounted in his autobiography that he was cast in the film by being in the right place at the right time. That place was a nightclub, and Mario Van Peebles was also there that night. "Mario said he overheard me talking sh*t in the bathroom," Ice T wrote. "I don't remember this exactly, but apparently I was telling someone: 'The problem is, if they could put me under a microscope and find one molecule of me that gave a f*ck, then they'd have a chance.'" Van Peebles liked what he heard and told someone that "whoever said that is going to be the star of my next movie." He found Ice T in the club, gave him his number, and convinced the rapper to contact him the next day. See more »

Goofs

When Kareem takes Pookie to talk to Gee Money about a promotion, the camera cuts between being in the room and looking through the wire that Pookie is wearing. Gee Money is on the phone during this exchange and his hands switch positions wildly between the shots. See more »

Quotes

Scotty Appleton: I don't know about you, man. But I'm ready to kill Nino Brown.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Friendly Fire: Making an Urban Legend (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

IN THE DUST
Written by Brother Marquis (as M. Ross), Fresh Kid Ice (as C. Wong Won), R. Terry,
M. McCray and Luther Campbell (as L. Campbell)
Performed by 2 Live Crew
Courtesy of Luke Records / Atlantic Recording Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hasn't aged quite so gracefully, but then nothing this momentarily fly ever does.
27 January 2012 | by oneguyramblingSee all my reviews

When New Jack City was released I was fascinated by the characters and mesmerised by its power – I was also 17.

Now almost 20 years on I see some of the flaws and broad strokes used that detract a little from the effectiveness of the film, but it is still a pretty solid genre piece with a standout performance from Wesley Snipes in what turned out to be a career defining role.

A great opening sequence introduces us to Nino Brown on the job. It is 1986 and while Nino is already large he is not yet LAAAAAARRRRRGE! As he will be a little later on… Nino is the personification of hip-hop cool, he wears clothes that might be described as "fly", rocks several ostentatious gold chains and items of jewelry and almost always wears the obligatory early 90s Kangol hat. He also has a slick tongue and an ear for a quotable line.

Nino's is practically posse-less at this early stage but his right hand man Gee Money (Allen Payne) is already in place. On this day Gee Money brings something new to the conversation, a new drug named Crack that is apparently already creating a buzz in urban areas.

Nino devises a plan that sees the newly formed gang the CMB (Cash Money Brothers) take over an entire apartment building called the Carter in a low income area, using force where necessary. Once under their control they convert the whole building into a home base to run a high tech, organised drug selling premises, complete with employee uniforms and membership cards! The Carter rapidly becomes the hub of operations and a well known no-go zone in the local area… unless you're looking to score.

Fast forward three years to 1989 and crack rules, this time Nino is indeed LAAAAAARRRRRGE, and the CMB are runnin' thangs in a big way, but he has even greater aspirations.

Nino's escalation of operations sees himself get noticed by the Mafia who aren't too ecstatic with their decreasing market share, and the cops, who decide to take action… after only three years! A taskforce is built to take down the CMB – not much of a task force but a task force nonetheless. It is comprised of 4 guys and only three merit description aside from "the Asian guy who hardly talks". These three are leader Detective Stone (Mario Van Peebles), maverick black cop Scotty Appleton (Ice T) and maverick white cop Nick Peretti (Judd Nelson).

These three spend most of each day debating race and drugs, without ever seeming to think "Gee maybe if we take down the apartment building drug complex that might do some good".

As the cops escalate things by getting a reformed crack addict named Pookie (Chris Rock) to infiltrate the Carter and report back, tensions increase between power hungry Nino and former best bud Gee Money. It doesn't help things when a gold digging hoochie named Uniqua (I wish I made that up!) gets involved and strings both of them along by their zippers.

I'll leave the action there aside from mentioning that when an initial police operation fails things move quickly from there until the end, leading to some pretty ludicrous events.

New Jack City is quotable at times, but just as cringe worthy at others with some of the attempts at catchy lines falling very flat. The dialogue between cops is often most lamentable of all, which seems strange as Mevin Van Peebles plays lead detective Stone, and he directed the thing! In 1991 I had no idea just how broadly stereotyped the characters were, all Nino seems to do is play basketball and watch Scarface, and the less said about the Italian Mafia the better.

New Jack City hasn't dated like the flat top haircuts and formation dancing that both appear in the film, but certain scenes pop and Wesley Snipes puts in an over the top performance as the insanely confident and driven Nino Brown that serves as the centrepiece of the film.

Final Rating – 7.5 / 10. For a couple years I thought New Jack City was the best film ever… It isn't. But while it hasn't aged well it is still a solid pic with some memorable scenes and a great bad guy.


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