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King of New York

290 customer reviews

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(Apr 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Freed from prison, Frank White (Christopher Walken) challenges his fellow druglords in bloody battles for a piece of the action. In New York, crime gets done Frank's way - or it doesn't get done at all. Unable to keep him behind bars, the cops declare war on him - and Frank responds by putting out a contract on the cops.

Special Features

  • TV Spots
  • Schoolly D Music Video

Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne, Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes
  • Directors: Abel Ferrara
  • Writers: Nicholas St. John
  • Producers: Augusto Caminito, Jay Julien, Mary Kane, Randy Sabusawa, Vittorio Squillante
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: X (Mature Audiences Only)
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2000
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004U29K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,674 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "King of New York" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2004
Format: DVD
KING OF NEW YORK is, for my money, the most valuable (and the most underrated) film of the last 20 years. It is a homage to the classic American genre - the gangster fable - with the depth and subtext of a European art-movie. It's a precursor to urban crime thrillers like New Jack City and Menace II Society (Ferrara points out they first used a rap-score in 1982). An ode to drug-culture. A pitchblack satire of capitalism and its grotesque fallout. It's got a cast to die for, and a close-knit crew at the height of their powers.

It's shot across an array of locations including Sing-Sing, Donald Trump's Plaza Hotel, and various crack-lanes; it weaves seamlessly between an original score, and the music of Vivaldi and Schooly D; the film is meticulously colour-coded (as pointed out by Nick Johnstone in his book) to add up to a cold critique of the red WHITE and blue, the all-American war-on-drugs; the tempo is expertly-managed, the movie simmers for a while then explodes into heavy-metal carnage, and then it dies with a sad whimper. The film is spectacularly violent, but think about the handling of the violence. There's a big Peckinpah slo-mo shootout, then the audacious shootout in Chinatown. But in the 2nd half of the movie the deaths are direct, painful to watch, and pitiful in their execution.
And then there's the cast: Walken was never better. He mesmirises you, brilliantly charismatic. And he looks so otherworldy, what with the hair and the deathly complexion, he's like the man who fell to Earth, the oddest looking `hero' you've ever seen. Fishburne reinvented a character imagined for James Russo and the whole movie turns on that transition. Its simply impossible to imagine how it could have worked ½ as well with Russo, or any1 else for that matter.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on April 26, 2002
Format: DVD
Some way into Abel Ferrara's 'King Of New York', two gangsters conspire in a small cinema showing F.W. Murnau's 1922 horror classic 'Nosferatu'. Playing the scene where the vampire disembarks his corpse- and rat-ridden ship docked in England, it has clear reference to Ferrara's protagonist, Frank White (Christopher Walken in one of cinema's great, mercurial performances), a drug-smuggler recently released from a long period in prison, hoping to reassert his local criminal power. White refers to his return as 'coming back from the dead', and Walken's long, haunted figure and dancer's movements have some of the aristocratic grace of a famous screen Dracula, Christopher Lee. Mostly seen at night, he gathers new recruits (fresh blood) around him to 'feed' on. One remarkable shot, after a prolonged sequence of speedy violence, has him lit so his eyes shine like some haunted undead; another has the camera following him through a railway station until it is stopped by bars - it can only impotently watch as White glides up the stairs to be swallowed by the night. The film even has as one of his opponents a cop played by future vampire-slayer Wesley Snipes.
But the 'Nosferatu' allusion points to something else - Ferrara's strange absorption of silent cinema. In terms of content, 'King' is a gangster film like any other: loud, ugly, violent, brutal, lurid, hysterical. But it has a purity and beauty very different from the stylised melodramas of Martin Scorcese, whose equally bloodthirsty 'Goodfellas' came out in the same year.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Martin Daly on June 25, 2000
Format: DVD
Abel Ferrara does not make films that could be regarded as wholesome family entertainment; in fact, he is arguably the most raw, uncompromising filmmaker at work in America today. This is the man whose work includes such controversial classics as Ms. 45, the Driller Killer and the extraordinary Bad Lieutenant which featured a fearless, powerful performance from Harvey Keitel. However, King of New York manages to combine the edgy, hardcore tension of his earlier work with the kind of polish that comes from a director who is absolutely aware of his vision. The story begins with Christopher Walken's character, Frank White, being released from prison. No sooner has he left than his rivals in the drug business (who have been getting richer and more powerful since his absence) are being killed off by White's loyal subordinates. These minions include such well known character actors as Steve Buscemi and, giving a truly psychotic, energised performance, Laurence Fishburne as the somehow appropriately named Jimmy Jump. White's aim is to gain ultimate control of drug trafficking in New York, hence the title 'King of New York', a fact that impels the law, here represented by Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes and David Caruso, to take drastic (and unlawful) measures to prevent from happening. One of the most notable aspects of this film is that it steadfastly refuses to pass judgment on any of its characters, good or bad. For example, on one hand, we have Walken's character who is planning to use his ill-gotten gains to fund a local children's hospital.Read more ›
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