King of New York

"OK"

King of New York Review


King of New York, a violent story of one gangster who shoots, stabs, and beats his way to the top of the local crime scene, has never had the street cred of Scarface, despite the similar themes.

And though Artisan is issuing a two-disc DVD release of the film, don't expect it to find much more of a cult audience 14 years after its original release.

Much of the blame lies with director Abel Ferrara, cinema's perennial bad boy, who made his most noteworthy and best-known film to date with this production. King of New York is put together with minimal deviation from the straight and narrow. Our anti-hero Frank (Christopher Walken, more on his work here later) and his band of cronies gorge on drugs, then bust caps on their rivals while evading the cops. (There's something about building a hospital here too... with all the people Frank kills, they're certainly going to need it.) Frank inserts himself into every gambling deal and prostitution ring, using his wallet when he senses his muscle won't work, and shutting down the less savory elements (child hookers, and so on) that don't agree with his twisted morality. But the cops aren't happy about this Robin Hood "justice," leading to an all-out war between the thugs and the law.

Ferrara's not one to dawdle on nuance.. Every shot of the criminals puts them in a drug den or a hotel suite, kicking back with piles of coke and half-naked women. Inexplicably, there's dancing at all of these events, so much that King of New York would fit right at home among the Breakin' movies. We long for Frank to get off the phone and make a move. Any move.

Walken is his usual, fabulous self, but Ferrara doesn't give him much of a character to work with. He has none of the glam of Tony Montana, and we only see the brilliance of Walken shine through in a handful of scenes. Most of the time he's sitting quietly on a couch, presumably waiting for his anger to boil over so he can go crazy on a rival crime lord. New York is delicious during its shootouts, and Walken even gets a chance to bust a characteristic move on the dance floor. It's a little touch that makes the film watchable, if for short stretches at a time, but hardly pushes the movie into the realm of classic.

Given a can't miss genre and a star at the top of the field, Ferrara turns in a big disappointment here. Bad Lieutenant, which Ferrara would make two years later, is a wildly better stab at the cop thriller.

The DVD set includes a profanity-laced commentary from Ferrara (he starts off by telling us the only reason he's doing the track is that he was paid $5,000 for it) and another commentary from the rest of the crew. A documentary about Ferrara's career (which includes interviews with Ferrara's regular crew, but not Ferrara himself) is also included along with a featurette about gangsta rapper Schoolly D, whose music was the inspiration for the film.



King of New York

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th September 1990

Box Office Worldwide: $2.6M

Budget: $1000 thousand

Distributed by: Live Home Video

Production compaines: Seven Arts Pictures, The Rank Organisation, Reteitalia, Carolco Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Frank White, as Dennis Gilley, as Jimmy Jump, as Roy Bishop, as Thomas Flanigan, as Jennifer, as Larry Wong, as Lance, as Joey Dalesio, as Test Tube, as Raye, Leonard L. Thomas as Blood, as Tanner, Carrie Nygren as Melanie, Ernest Abuba as King Tito, as Ariane

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.