REVIEWED
6.29.05

STORY



LOOK

King of New York: Special Edition
Director: Abel Ferrara
Year: 1990
TRT: 1:46


Quality Crime Drama. No flashy camerawork, big explosions, or cheezy one-liners. Ferrara knows how to capture the real, and that is what this movie is all about.

Following the release from prison, city kingpin Frank White (Christopher Walken) gets right back into the action. Money and power have many benefits, but his time in the joint leaves Frank with a fuckload of headtrips to work out. Fortunately he's got triggerman Jimmy (Lawrence "Larry" Fishburne) on his side. But David Caruso, Wesley Snipes (in one of his actual "good" performances) and a couple of other cops have some pretty major bugs up their asses and want Frank put back from day one. Too bad they're pretty fuckin' stupid cops. But vigilant, nonetheless.

Screw all these television melodramas on police in whatever big city the networks are showcasing this season. This is a straight-up look at how things could go down, and with the quality of Christopher Walken in the lead, is pretty involving. I can't say much more just because it's a such a pleasure to watch as the story unfolds. Do yourself a favor, put the latest Ben Stiller movie you may be considering watching back down on the shelf and pick this bad boy up instead. You won't need to shower afterwards just to feel clean again (unless you're averse to violence, drugs and nudity, in which case I suggest a cool washcloth to wipe your brow afterward, as a bit of a refresher). May be a little too brisk in pacing, but still quite thoroughly enjoyable.

Great Scene: Really enjoy one of the opening scenes where Fishburne, accompanied by the Chemist (Steve Buscemi in an all-too-brief role), laughs hysterically as his adversary opens a briefcase full of tampons. Plus pretty much every conversation Walken has, it's carried with such heaviness and meaning, well, this dude is the MAN.

DVD Notes: Quality transfer and treatment put out by Lions Gate in a 2-DVD package. While it really doesn't matter in the long run, the reason this update has been slightly delayed is so that I could go through the extras on these discs. Included is a couple of nicely done documentaries (originally done by Artisan), the first about the director himself titled "A Short Film about the Long Career of Abel Ferrara." Gives you a good perspective on the enigmatic filmmaker, with interviews with the main core of people he's worked with over the years. Suspiciously absent is any footage of Ferrara himself. But that's cool, this guy is a freak who does some great, moving work. Sometimes his films click, sometimes not. Nice perspective, though. The other doc is "The Adventures of Schoolly D: Snowboarder," whose reputation as the father of gangsta rap is the inspiration behind the movie itself. Rather odd, you'd think, to have Christopher Walken transforming the role of a black Philly hip-hop pioneer. But Ferrara has taken that and transformed it into, well, this film in a lot of ways. Last but not least is 2 commentaries, one with the "technical" folks (ie. producer, editor, composer, and associate producer), which I have yet to listen to. The other is simply Abel, being the rude-ass New Yorker that he is. No pretentiousness, no garbage, no shit. Calls it as he sees it in his raspy-ass voice, and walks with 5 Gs in his pocket. Rips on his own shit while admiring the lighting, this guy is a true "independent" filmmaker. Give it a spin if you have the chance, it's a movie within itself.