New Jack City 1991

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An energetic slice of Blaxploitation from director Mario Van Peebles, New Jack City, alongside Abel Ferrara’s King of New York, seemed to herald a new era of gangster films. In retrospect, they were the best of the cycle, with New Jack City punching above it’s weight in terms of depicting the rise and fall of crack-cocaine merchant Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) , with cops Scotty (Ice T) and Nick (Judd Nelson) keen to take him down. Peebles focuses on Pookie (Chris Rock), a drug-user who is caught between drugs and the law, and ends up becoming a pawn in the wider game of law enforcement. New Jack City has all the vim and brio of a classic Warners programmer from the 1940’s, with a lively performance by Snipes, sporting great threads, and genuine sociological concerns wrapped up in an entertaining, violent package.

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