Thursday, September 18, 2008

KING OF NEW YORK - random-expletive-generator

"You know I don't feel that strongly about it. I'm not saying it wasn't bad. It was bad."

"The script took five years to write? How? He just pulled expletives at random out of a hat."

Nikolai on

KING OF NEW YORK is a poorly made, politically dubious gangster flick from writer-director Abel Ferrara. It features Weapon of Choice, Christopher Walken, as ex-con wannabe dealer, Frank White. As the movie opens, White leaves Sing-Sing in a moody looking town car and heads straight to the Plaza where he shags two hookers. He then proceeds to run around town, giving money to charity, while all the time off'ing dealers who refuse to do business with him. He also offers jobs to punks who try to mug him. "Come to the Plaza. Ask for Frank White." Doesn't he think the concierge at the Plaza is going to start noticing all the gangsters turning up?

The whole thing feels amateurish. It wants to look moody but looks shoddily put together. Everyone seems to be pastiching bad guys. Laurence Fishburne is particularly guilty of this - walking with all the attitude and conviction of Ali G. But even Christopher Walken seems to be hamming it up more than usual. Not once did I feel threatened by any of these characters. They were like silly kids playing a rather vicious kind of dress-up.

That, of course, is the criticism most often thrown at this film. That it is irresponsible because it glamourises pimping, dealing and shooting people at random. I, of course, have no objection to pimping, dealing and shooting people. I do, however, object, to boredom, bad acting and grand-standing.

KING OF NEW YORK was originally released in 1990 and is available on DVD.

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