New Jack City (1991)

Crime, Drama, Thriller
Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock
A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.
  • Warner Home Video Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 08 Mar 1991 Released:
  • 25 Aug 1998 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Thomas Lee Wright, Thomas Lee Wright Writer:
  • Mario Van Peebles Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

A good film.5/10



Through it borrows heavily from such gangster movies as "Scarface." New Jack City is a good film that teaches (without preaching) the dangers of drug use and those individuals who would use it for their own gain. The film centers around Nino Brown a drug lord who rises to power with his gang by capitalizing on the drug of choice (at the time) crack cocaine. He soon builds a huge empire known as the CMB. A police officer (Mario Van Peoples) is assigned to bring him down to do this he forms a special unit comprised of Scotty Appleton (Ice-T) and Nick Peretti (Judd Nelson). The unit is able to bring down the CMB which was crumbling thanks to the power mad Brown, through Nino isn't punished by the law, he does meet his end.

The film is a fast pace (moving from 1986 to 89' in only the first thirty minutes). Through their are some obvious stereotypes (most notably the Italian gangsters Nino crosses). It's a good film. That has a good rhythm to it, and is probably one of the best to come out of the urban gangster genre of early 90's.
Wesley Snipes Should Have Been Nominated5/10

This is one great movie, but the thing that really made it special was Wesley Snipes portrayal of a totally despicable character in Nino Brown. He didn't portray Nino as the stereotypical drug dealer. Instead he portrayed Nino as a highly intelligent man who you wonder what would have happened if he had put his intelligence to more productive pursuits. Also, Ice-T wasn't bad in his first major role and you can see how much he has improved by watching Law and Order: SVU.

This is not your typical movie about the drug culture.
A must for all fans of Mafia-type movies.10/10

This is a very stylish movie. All the elements seem to have combined to give it a very distinctive look and feel. The soundtrack is excellent and complements the story perfectly, almost like it is a part of the story. All the performances are great but special mention has to go to Wesley Snipes and the great Judd Nelson/Ice T double act. Okay the plot doesn't really tax your brain but if you are a fan of gangster movies or want a bit of mindless entertainment then you won't go wrong with this film.
Fast paced ghetto gangsta fantasy with an important message7/10
Van Peebles directs a great cast in this detached-from-reality film about a truly evil drug-lord with a head for business and murder (Snipes), and a tough, street-wise pair of cops (Ice-T and Judd Nelson) hell-bent on bringing him down. The message is an important one - slogans are not going to win the war on drugs, and the way the message is carried in the film is more subtle than you might expect. The end of the film makes the point very clear, and I won't discuss it because I do not write spoilers. Like many of the more intelligent films made in the early 1990s, New Jack City is also an indictment of the euphoria of the Reagan years - telling the true story of what that time was like for those living from paycheck to paycheck, or trying to live without one, and dealing with the invisible "war on drugs" which had little to no effect on anybody in our inner-city neighborhoods.

Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne and Chris Rock give stand-out performances, and the rest of the cast provide excellent support. The film also stars New York City, and definitely has an NYC flavor (seasoned with more than a pinch of Hollywood). The cinematography is a little breathless - not unusual for the genre but in this case a bit extreme. The script is good, but perhaps too dense with rich plot details. And the editing provides a few pacing problems toward the middle of the film which, combined with the over-abundance of subplots, detract from the development of the main themes. The soundtrack is excellent - including a nice mix of hip-hop, rap, contemporary soul, and dance music - all blended nicely with the imagery of the film. Van Peebles style is well developed in this film, but I felt that some aspects of the plot were a little too outrageous for the seriousness of the film's message, and I fear that the message may have been lost on many of the film's viewers.

Overall, this is a good film. Entertaining and thoughtful, but definitely not for everybody.
New Jack City8/10
As British TV is so bad at the moment I'm re-watching many of my DVDs. I dug this out. Wesley Snipes is a very underrated actor just like his peer Laurence Fishburne. He is excellent in this, and as another user has commented, you see especially in the trial scene that his character isn't quite the dumb-head he appears to be just misguided. It has a fine cast. I dug the film out to watch Judd Nelson's performance again in it as I've just re-watched the Breakfast Club and wanted to compare. I can't remember who directed NJC but it's very reminiscent of a Spike Lee film and just as hard hitting. It is just as relevant today as it was back in 1991 in fact more relevant here in Manchester, United Kingdom as we have seen over the past 7 years some serious divisions within the black community.