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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see
The basic story..A psycho killer who's an expert in martial arts is brutally killings the strippers of N.Y. city. The two rival mobs who control the underworld blame each other and the police have come up with nothing. Later ex boxer Matty (Tom Berenger) who now runs a stripper agency seeks the killer himself.
The film is pretty sleazy so it may put some people off...
Published on 10 Jan. 2009 by J.M. "The Phantom"

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not one of Abel Ferrara�s best.
I remember "King of New York" as a pretty good action-packed, quality movie. Watching "Fear City" I expected to see some of his magic but I must say I was somewhat disappointed. One of the things that are wrong with this movie is it's pace. At one time it races along, the next it gets pretty boring up to the point where you couldn't care less to see the ending...
Published on 26 Feb. 2002


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not one of Abel Ferrara�s best., 26 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Fear City [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I remember "King of New York" as a pretty good action-packed, quality movie. Watching "Fear City" I expected to see some of his magic but I must say I was somewhat disappointed. One of the things that are wrong with this movie is it's pace. At one time it races along, the next it gets pretty boring up to the point where you couldn't care less to see the ending.
Another aspect is that the version of "Fear City" I saw was considerably cut for its release in the US.
What does make this movie interesting to watch is Ferrara's uncanny portrayal of the sleaziness of the filming location in New York.
Tom Berenger is average in the role of the tormented Matt Rossi. Applause goes to Michael V Gazzo who (most likely unintentionally) tickles your funny bone as erotic dance club owner Mikey.
Melanie Griffith's character reminded me of her role in Brian De Palma's Body Double(1984). Her display of nudity should amply satisfy the Griffith fans.
All in all "Fear City" is not too bad where it not for pacing, some unevenness of the characters and the cutting involved to prevent the movie from getting an X-rating.
For lovers of this kind of movie, check out "Maniac" (1980) and "New York Ripper"(1982), especially Ferrara's best: "Ms. 45"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At least it's the most complete, 25 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Fear City [DVD] (DVD)
At least this Euro release of the otherwise deeply flawed "Fear City" is the most complete version content and censorship wise with none of the visual/audio cuts that blight the awful UK and US releases.
If you want to complete your Ferrara collection this is the version to get
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The New York Dolls., 4 Sept. 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fear City (DVD) (DVD)
Fear City is directed by Abel Ferrara and written by Nicholas St. John. It stars Tom Berenger, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Scalia, Melanie Griffith, Rossano Brazzi, Rae Dawn Chong and Maria Conchita. Music is by Dick Halligan and cinematography by James Lemmo.

A serial killer with martial arts skills is targeting exotic dancers in the Manhattan district of New York. An angry cop and an ex-boxer with a vested interest in the girls' welfare vie for the scalp of the killer.

The visual backdrop of a neon lighted Manhattan adorned with sex and violence, a sort of urban nightmare, should have been the starting point for some Abel Ferrara class. Unfortunately what transpires is a derivative film of unimaginative dialogue, a weakly constructed plot and a sense that it's really a skin flick for young teenage boys learning about what makes them tingle.

The visual experience is rather ace, definitely, with Ferrara painting it as a neon drenched city of blood, sweat and tears, while the score thrums away like an 80s grim reaper determined to keep the story in the realm of darkly classic film noir. Hell! Even the flashback structure used for Berenger's troubled pugilist has a nice noirish kink to it, but everything else is a mess.

The narrative includes such unsubtle plot devices as bisexuality, drug abuse, guilt and even "reverse racism", but do any of these add up to anything approaching cinematic oomph? Hell no! And this is even before we get to the killer, who we see from the off but that's all we know about him. I mean he has a book called "Fear City" and he likes to do his martial arts in the nude, and he likes to cause considerable pain to his victims, but why? Could he just be some guy prancing about in readiness for a day of reckoning with Berenger's buffed up demon exorciser?

By the time Billy Dee Williams realises he is saddled with a script that just wants him to be politically incorrect instead of being a policeman of substance, the film has lost all sense of purpose or basic thriller means. We then cut to a twin training montage of Berenger and Naked Fear City Guy that just looks like a cheap knock-off from the Rocky Balboa franchise. Enter the big fight finale, where the brawn and pugilist guile of one man meets the oriental dexterity of another, which in principal should be exhilarating. Sadly the choreography, and direction, for Berenger's character during this denouement is very poor and firmly sounds the death knell on what is a huge disappointment of a movie.

The girls look great, Griffith especially, and Bereneger also is in fabulous shape. While the visual canvas is just about enough to entice the neo-noir faithful into taking a look, but really it's hard to believe this is from the same director of Ms. 45, King of New York and Bad Lieutenant, because yes! It is that poor and you would be far better served seeking out other 80s thrillers instead. As for Lando Calrissian? He is left wondering about life in a galaxy far far away...where for sure he at least was somebody. 4/10
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see, 10 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Fear City (DVD) (DVD)
The basic story..A psycho killer who's an expert in martial arts is brutally killings the strippers of N.Y. city. The two rival mobs who control the underworld blame each other and the police have come up with nothing. Later ex boxer Matty (Tom Berenger) who now runs a stripper agency seeks the killer himself.
The film is pretty sleazy so it may put some people off but for me this is an excellent and superior film. Ferrara's direction as always is superb and he gets that gritty and seedy look of the New York underbelly that few others can. Highly stylish and atmospheric it's also very entertaining with violent deaths and other action. For a low budget film the cast is impressive with good performance and the final fight between the martial arts killer and Berenger is an absolute knock-out. There may be the odd time when it becomes a bit slower but this film contains many dazzling set pieces.
I know there are different versions of the film:the cinema release, T.V. version, those cut by the censors etc(also many scenes were shot that have never been seen as the producers took them away from Ferrara). This version may have lost some of the original audio but it's got the violence and the nunchaku scenes that were originally cut by the bbfc. I absolutely love this film but I still hope that one day a proper director's cut comes out and we can see this the way Ferrara truly wanted it to be.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Ferrara never disappoints, 25 Dec. 2011
By 
Juan Jose Espinoza Aguilar "Juanito Cinefilo" (Caracas, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fear City [DVD] (DVD)
Fear City [DVD]

I'm fond of everything Ferrara directed in the eighties. He has a raw sensibility that is quite idiosyncratic and you can see it in full display on Fear City.
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Fear City [DVD]
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