New Jack City

Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers.

With:
Wesley Snipes Ice-T Mario Van Peebles Allen Payne Judd Nelson Chris Rock

Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers.

Drawn from articles about real drug kingpins in California magazine and the Wall Street Journal, pic presents the fictional story [by Thomas Lee Wright] of Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes), who in 1986 foresees the potential of crack and by 1989 has built an empire around it. Term ‘New Jack’ was coined by journalist Barry Michael Cooper, pic’s co-writer, to describe modern urban street life.

After Nino takes over an apartment building, brutally ejecting the tenants, police detective Stone (played by the director) recruits undercover cops Scotty (rap artist Ice-T) and Peretti (Judd Nelson) to bring him in.

It’s clear from the start the filmmakers are out to blow the audiences away with pic’s jacked-up hyperactive pace. Camera style is restless and aggressive. Problems of narrative flow mar the second half, with events jumping around without setup. Nonetheless, pic, filmed on location mostly in Harlem and the Bronx for $8.5 million, has a seat-of-the-pants energy guaranteed to sweep its target audience along.

New Jack City

Production: Jackson-McHenry. Director Mario Van Peebles; Producer Doug McHenry, George Jackson; Screenplay Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper; Camera Francis Kenny; Editor Steven Kemper; Music Michel Colombier; Art Director Charles C. Bennett

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: Wesley Snipes Ice-T Mario Van Peebles Allen Payne Judd Nelson Chris Rock

More Film

  • Robin Williams appears in Robin Williams:

    Sundance Film Review: 'Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind'

    Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers. Drawn from articles about real drug kingpins in California magazine and the Wall Street Journal, pic presents the […]

  • MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

    Sundance: First Look at Poster for M.I.A. Documentary

    Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers. Drawn from articles about real drug kingpins in California magazine and the Wall Street Journal, pic presents the […]

  • Carey Mulligan Says Dee Rees Would

    Carey Mulligan: If Dee Rees Was a White Man, She'd Be Directing the Next 'Star Wars'

    Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers. Drawn from articles about real drug kingpins in California magazine and the Wall Street Journal, pic presents the […]

  • Inventing Tomorrow

    Sundance Film Review: ‘Inventing Tomorrow’

    Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers. Drawn from articles about real drug kingpins in California magazine and the Wall Street Journal, pic presents the […]

  • Nicolas CageVariety Studio at Sundance Presented

    Nicolas Cage on High Movie Prices, Not Playing Superman and Sundance Action Movie 'Mandy'

    Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer. Strongest element is the anger and disgust directed squarely at drug dealers. Drawn from articles about real drug kingpins in California magazine and the Wall Street Journal, pic presents the […]

  • 'Lizzie' Review

    Sundance Film Review: 'Lizzie'

    Evocative visuals and a strong cast ham-handedly reframe the infamous ax murderess as a heroine slaying the patriarchy.

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content