All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
King of New York
Not everyone who runs a city is elected.
A former drug lord returns from prison determined to wipe out all his competition and distribute the profits of his operations to New York's poor and lower classes in this stylish and ultra violent modern twist on Robin Hood.
You could imagine during production that Abel Ferrara must have felt that his stylized neon saturated gangster film, complete with his biggest budget thus far, may prove to be his most mainstream and accessible feature, harking back as it did to the similar celluloid criminal mayhem that James Cagney would feature in in earlier days.
But upon its release in 1990, critics and audiences alike didn't see it that way at all. They gave it a resounding thumbs down, whilst some even booed the cast at screenings and demanded the profit went to drug rehab programmes in the titular city. Such reactions only further served the notoriety of Ferrara as an enfant terrible of American indie cinema scene. And so…
Ferrara gets a budget and makes a meandering B-grade gangster flick with A-grade style. An irresponsible portrait of irresponsibility. Or so it seems: is this really just a coked-up cliché rolling in a pile of cash, indulging in its genre with sneering crassness, or is it exploiting these tropes in an effort to say something meaningful? It's tough to say, and the real pleasure of this film lies in its coarse complexity and the way it withholds easy identification with any of its characters. The final act does veer away from the decadence and corruption to go out on a more operatic note, but Ferrara would be thoroughly shown up by De Palma with Carlito's Way just a few years later. Still, it's just "off" enough to make for a compelling watch.
Dark and gritty and sleazy in that way Abel Ferrara has perfected up to this point, KING OF NEW YORK features Christopher Walken at the peak of his acting powers, calling the shots and taking out his rivals. Ferrara flips the tables though, as a lot of Walken's violence seems strangely justified, like a robin hood gangster with a heart of gold. That doesn't prevent cop David Caruso (in a possibly Boston accent) from hating his ever-loving guts though. Despite a great performance from Laurence Fishburne, including some great toe-to-toe scenes with Wesley Snipes, I feel like his performance was the one thing holding the movie back. In most of the early and middle portions of the movie, he lays…
Christopher Walken kicks arse in a nice looking mafia thriller, that when not busy being unbusy and sluggishly paced, is occupied with niftily playing with the audience through cinematography or plain and simply being awesome.
Gotta miss old school blood. That splatter. CGI blood is an atrocity to action films. It just looks so awesome, and there's so much blood spilt here in 1990's New York. Lawrence Fishburne helps, he also gets a handful of pussy, but no chicken, (makes sense if you've seen it). Steve Buscemi makes an appearance and promptly leaves. Wesley Snipes is usual badass. Victor Argo is full of pathos.
The whole cast really makes this film. The story was rather stale and the characters not…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Walken being his usual badass self.
- A grim, fatalistic, fantasy, King of New York's grit is tainted by fairy dust. It was only when re-watching the film this time that I realised how brilliantly implausible it all is. And it's interesting that Ferrara considered this film to be his answer to 'The Terminator'.
- Behind the charming enigma that is Frank White lies a psychopath and it is his philanthropy that gives him away. Even through his own greed Larry Wong can recognise this. Drug dealer, cold blooded killer and...local hero keeping open a hospital in a poor neighbourhood!? The contradictions are irrelevant to Frank. And like in many other Ferrara films the central protagonist may be flawed and behave in a contradictory manner, but…
This film is pure trashy brilliance with a fantastically unhinged performance by Christopher Walken, his voice in this film is almost self-parodical! The whole film is shot like a music video for a 'New-Jack Swing' era group or something, it is amazing.
What a bunch of senseless violence. Any motivation for it seems artificial at best, overall the plot isn't really driven by anything. We don't get characters to root for or get to understand their motivations. It's like you took Goodfellas and removed all the non-action scenes. Weird ass movie!
Yet, the action that is on display is pretty great and Walken and Fishburne play two crazy-ass characters I do like. The movie is shot pretty good and their is an interesting atmosphere thrown over New York City.
But at the end of the movie, the plot has played so many gangster movie cliches it loses any good will it had, it can only be seen as a dud.
Watched on Netflix.
I think some people forget about this gangster picture from the early 90's, and how entertaining it really is. This is back when David Caruso thought he was going to be a big movie star, and Laurence Fishburne went by Larry.
Walken is doing what he does best, broods until it's time to unleash flashes of crazy. He dances, he kills, and gives a couple of great speeches.
The film has a nice big city atmosphere and still makes you feel like Walken is in this thing all alone.
Pusher Robin Hood
Is a great premise. I just
Wish I liked it more.
Walken is mesmerizing as always in his quirky, staccato style, but the real thrill of this pre-Guiliani New York tale might be Abel Ferrara's edgy, erratic direction which juxtaposes gloss and grime over and over, reminding us of what the city used to be.
Abel Ferrara's underworld opera has more moral chaos than psychological complexity, but that perfectly suits Chistopher Walken's enigmatic, almost otherworldly performance -- you half expect to learn he's an alien observer who fell in love with this gritty, glossy, bloody New York. Add to that an amazing supporting cast and a plot that slowly accelerates until it threatens to careen out of control, and you've got yourself a sweet piece of cinema, even if it never quite manages to exceed the sum of its parts.
This was a slow burn at best. Fishburne was great as a member of the Run DMC gangsters. Walken was comatose.
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- Assault on Precinct 13
- The Good, The Bad, The Weird
- Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
- Down by Law
I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…