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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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4,435 ( 1,079)
1 win & 5 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:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,039,622, 10 March 1991

Gross USA:

$47,624,353

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,624,353
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

Tupac Shakur auditioned for the role of Gee Money but was turned down due to the fact that he looked younger than Wesley Snipes. Shakur would later portray Bishop in Juice (1992), a character similar to that of Nino Brown. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie Pooky is riding away on a bike. When he is riding down the stairs you can see that it is not the same bike. The handlebars are different. As he starts off it is a straight bar, when going down the stairs it is lower and has a pad on the cross bar. See more »

Quotes

Pooky: They got that shit hooked up like Mission Impossible, man!
See more »

Alternate Versions

German VHS & first DVD releases were edited for violence in two scenes (Nino kills a cop by cutting his throat/Scotty beats Nino at the end of the film), probably to secure a "Not under 16" rating. On TV the film was broadcast uncut. On the 2006 Special Edition DVD the film was released uncut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Caprica: There Is Another Sky (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Written by M.C. Ren, Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre
Performed by NWA (as N.W.A.)
Courtesy of Priority Records, Inc. / Ruthless Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Idolator! Your soul is required in hell!
13 March 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

New Jack City is directed by Mario Van Peebles (who also co-stars) and written by Thomas Lee Wright and Barry Michael Cooper. It stars Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Judd Nelson, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Bill Nunn, Bill Cobbs and Michael Michele. Music is by Vassal Benford and Michael Colombier and cinematography by Francis Kenny.

New York City, 1986 and crack cocaine is the drug of choice and Nino Brown (Snipes) and his gang, the Cash Money Brothers, are building a violent empire and cornering the market. Enter streetwise cop Scotty Appleton (Ice-T) and loose cannon Nick Peretti (Nelson), who form an uneasy partnership willing to push the law's boundaries to bring Nino down…

The Black Scarface!

On narrative terms it's basically an urban modernisation of the Scarface story, the themes at work were nothing new back then, never mind in cinema post 1991. That it is predominantly an African American film caused many at the time to call it a Blaxploitation picture for the 90s set, which is unfair, because it has more on offer than that and doesn't shy away from the dramatics available with such a story. True, it isn't pulling up any trees or breaking new ground in the drug/crime order of cinema, but it's incendiary enough to be thrilling whilst never romanticising the lifestyle of the drug gang. It paints a stark world of a drug infested city populated by colourful gang members, hapless addicts and edgy coppers, all sound tracked by pulse pounding hip-hop beats.

This was Van Peebles' first big screen directing outing and it's a hugely impressive debut. So much so it begs the question on why his subsequent directing career has been something of a none event? Here he delves deep into the realm of neo-noir to provide the picture with many visual smarts and techniques. Backgrounds are often showing oblique angles, colour schemes such as garish greens feature in striking compositions, a flashing red light is used adroitly on a character's face as he struggles to hold his rage, a POV shot of a basketball and the opening of the film with a slow zoom in on a crime about to be committed on a bridge, these are just some of the flair tricks showcased by Peebles.

While some of the key characters that form Nino's gang are under developed, Peebles does garner a great performance out of Snipes and very good turns from Ice-T and Nelson. Snipes provides Brown with a sinister swagger, yet a charm exudes from him that makes it believable that people would be willing to be led by him. Ice and Nelson are a cool double act, both Scotty and Nick pulse with machismo but are equally flawed as characters. The other important character and performance is Pookie played by Rock, a reformed crack addict now helping the police. Peebles is unsubtle in his handling of the Pookie situation, but it strikes the requisite emotional chord and puts further dramatic worth into an already tense filled thriller.

It's not as revolutionary as was once heralded, there is some formula familiarity and the finale is telegraphed too easily, but this has energy and style to burn. Making it one of the leading lights of the drug crime sub-genre of neo-noir. It's a damn shame Peebles was never this good again. 8/10


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