peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 08 24 KingOfNewYork

King of New York (1990)

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I don't remember seeing Christopher Walken in the lead too often; his roles that stick (True Romance, Pulp Fiction) have him play the big cheese in a scene or two before the caravan rolls on. Here Abel Ferrara has him anchor a stellar cast and early on gets him to bust out some dance moves like Travolta. This is after he completes a spell for unspecified crimes at Sing Sing (that route to the exit — and from the entry? — of great cinematic cliche) while receiving Larry Fishburne (not really cutting it as Clean aged a decade) of da hood in his ritzy hotel rooms. Along for the ride is Steve Buscemi as a minor drug chemist and Giancarlo Esposito as a henchman. And so on.

The problem is mostly with the plot: this is just the greatest hits of the drug gangsta genre. It's so disjointed that I found it impossible to care. The soundtrack is the hip hop of the day mostly by Schoolly-D (sample song: Am I Black Enough For You?).

Roger Ebert: two stars. Essentially Robin Hood. Style over all. Walken "glides ... with his usual polished and somehow sinister ease". Janet Maslin saw it at the New York Film Festival. IMDB Trivia: funded by Silvio Berlusconi. Apparently the NYC scene lapped it up.