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The Two Jakes (1990)

Jack Nicholson , Rebecca Broussard , Jack Nicholson  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

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The Two Jakes + Chinatown + L.A. Confidential (Keepcase)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Rebecca Broussard, Paul A. DiCocco Jr., Richard Farnsworth, Frederic Forrest
  • Directors: Jack Nicholson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000022TTD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,436 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Two Jakes" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Set more than a decade after the story in Chinatown, this 1990 sequel brings Jack Nicholson back to the screen as L.A. private detective Jake Gittes. Older, fatter, worn, and frustrated, the Jake of 1948 is still haunted by the tragic events of the earlier film. While investigating a case involving adultery and questionable land dealings by an L.A. tycoon (Harvey Keitel as the other Jake), Gittes unexpectedly confronts a few old ghosts and discovers that the resource of choice in Southern California--one for which people die--is no longer water but oil. The film had a notorious production history, with Nicholson taking over the project from writer-director Robert Towne, and the dense plot can be difficult to follow. But if The Two Jakes doesn't measure up to the legendary status of its stylish predecessor, the film does satisfy on its own terms and brings the events of Chinatown to a moving conclusion. Terrific work by Keitel and supporting players Meg Tilly, Madeleine Stowe, Eli Wallach, and Ruben Blades. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
It's about time that "The Two Jakes" gets a little love. Yes, it's a lesser film than "Chinatown" but it's still a GOOD film that was slammed in the press for not being the first film which, of course, it couldn't be simply because all the characters have tried to move on and time has taken its toll on all these people.

The new edition of the film is a marked improvement with more accurate colors and improved definition.

We have an excellent interview with Jack Nicholson that runs about 18 minutes discussing how he ended up in the director's chair ("it was the only way to not have it be this ongoing drama") how "The Two Jakes" was supposed to be the second part of a trilogy (with "Gittes vs. Gittes" originally about privacy as the third film). The original plan was that Towne (who appears in an interview for "Chinatown" but curiously NOT for "The Two Jakes") was going to write and direct the two sequels using the natural passage of time and each succeeding decade (30's, 40's and 50's) to document the change of Los Angeles which was a major character in the film as well.

Nicholson manages to discuss the film without making a nasty comment about anybody. He discusses the casting (Madeline Stowe, Meg Tilly, Eli Wallach, Harvey Keitel), particularly about the challenges working with the actors who often had very different training. We see some behind-the-scenes footage that was drawn from a vintage featurette. Sadly, we don't get a commentary track by Nicholson or any of the cast members. Nevertheless, this is great upgrade over the barebones original release.

Unfortunately Towne is MIA for the interview (given the difficulty he had in getting it made, his dismissal as director and his mixed feelings about the final result, it's understandable).
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Chinatown" through a glass, darkly November 21, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Readers: take close note of that average customer rating above and dismiss the unfortunate choice of critical review at the top. I think in ten or twenty years this will be brought to the same high pedestal as "Chinatown". From the moment Jack takes note of Harvey's shoes, to the last inspired note of Jo Stafford, this is a work of high and detailed craftsmanship.
The reason I rate this as the best sequel of all time is that the storyteller speaks with twenty years' older voice to us as his equally enriched contemporaries. He observes the nuance in human behavior we would appreciate, and he reveals the subtle qualities of light that reassert L.A.'s beauty. He also tells a more complex and engrossing story, apparently more intricate than reviewers like the one above could understand, but all the better to savor.
For any of us in his generation, Jack has sent a beautiful memento of our earliest days. "Chinatown" was a perfect vintage, but "Jakes" is a perfect thirty-year-old brandy.
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vastly Underrated April 22, 2001
Any sequel to something as good as "Chinatown" is going to disappoint some people, but "The Two Jakes" is just the sequel that that movie needed. "The Two Jakes" has a different look, and a different feel to it; one that is akin to the time that it represents- like "Kiss Me Deadly" or "Sudden Fear" has a different look than "Casablanca" or "The Big Sleep".
Yes, it does have a convoluted plot, but one that makes perfect sense if you pay attention, and you cannot fault the performers- they are flawless to the extras. It is also the most flawless (yep, I know that I have been using that adjective a lot, but it fits, and you can look at my other reviews to see just how mean I can be!) look of postwar Los Angeles that I have ever seen- and as a resident, I know how hard that that can be to pull off. So, okay, it's not "Chinatown" so what? Not to denigate it, but that movie's impact was mainly because it re-introduced a generation to the whole film noir genre, brilliantly. This movie attempted to do the same thing for a time that also should be remembered- the 50's film noir, before "Psycho" and "Bonnie and Clyde", but the movies that paved the way for those classics.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
"The Two Jakes"
Most reviews pull Jack Nicholson's directorial debut to pieces, except for a very well-considered one by Roger Ebert (find it at the Chicago Sun-Times). Of course, it's not Chinatown. Instead it's a wonderful film that had the misfortune of being a sequel to a classic film. It's about the past, how it pervades our lives for the rest of our days, and how we incorporate it into our futures.
Many have complained that the film is convoluted, that when the key revelation comes (I ain't givin' that away) you miss the impact of it. I strongly disagree with this. I for one had actually figured out the revelation before it happened - this didn't bother me because I wanted so much for it to be what I had thought it was going to be. And when it comes, it's so subtle you could almost be forgiven for missing it. It's lovely, so comforting, and very ironic. All I'll say is, pay attention to the scene where Jake (Nicholson) goes to see Kahn (the unmistakable James Hong). "Something about the flowers..."
The Two Jakes is subtle, well-crafted, and when all is revealed, so very simple. The 'convoluted' events in the plot serve to illustrate what a single, simple desire can cause. Just watch it. Bear in mind the events and characters from Chinatown, but only so that you have a backstory for these characters and not a standard to which they should be compared.
And if you get this movie, "It never goes away..."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank god there weren't three of them. Big ups!
Published 19 days ago by shrinkrap66
5.0 out of 5 stars What could be better?
Nicholson and Kietel? What could be better?
Published 27 days ago by Burroughs Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not Chinatown, however.....
OK, I'll start off by saying that Chinatown it isn't, but having said that The Two Jakes isn't all that bad, and I actually liked it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. E. Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a favorite
Published 1 month ago by margaret mannatt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
follow up to Chinatown. should watch Chinatown first.
Published 1 month ago by Leslie Gilmore
4.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, I liked it
Ya gotta wonder if Nicholson actually thought anyone could make a movie as good as Chinatown. At least he tried, even if he did wait quite a while to do it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by sammy
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
A very confusing sequel to a great movie, "Chinatown".
Published 2 months ago by Satchmo
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It's OK for a sequel.
Published 2 months ago by Ray Clemons Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars " The Two Jakes" took a good many years to be realized
As Nicholson explains in the interviews, when the movie "Chinatown" was first made, it was always envisaged as the first of a trio of movies with its protagonist, the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Donald G. Smock
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to Chinatown
this sequel to Chinatown is absolutely a must-see!!! Directed by Nicholson,this is maybe better then Chinatown,if that's possible. Read more
Published 2 months ago by oklahoma apache
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