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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated crime masterpiece...
I love this film, it never gets old. It's blend of grim urban landscapes, clever intelligent plot and visceral action puts it miles ahead of almost any other crime movie you care to name, and it can stand with it's head held high as a classic on a par with the greats of the late 80s thru 90s gangster movie era, like Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Heat and Pulp...
Published on 10 Mar 2005 by T. Carne

versus
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film....very poor print
Abel Ferrera's superb gangster flick deserves a better DVD treatment than this. Full screen and as soft as your VHS copy even fora tenner this is a waste of your money. Wait for a better print.
Published on 3 Dec 2000 by andybill@freeuk.com


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated crime masterpiece..., 10 Mar 2005
By 
T. Carne "Techie wage-slave" (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I love this film, it never gets old. It's blend of grim urban landscapes, clever intelligent plot and visceral action puts it miles ahead of almost any other crime movie you care to name, and it can stand with it's head held high as a classic on a par with the greats of the late 80s thru 90s gangster movie era, like Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Heat and Pulp Fiction.
It's been overlooked somewhat in the face of such high profile company, but to be honest, this and Reservoir Dogs are the ones I keep coming back to. The characters are richly drawn and morally ambiguous in a fashion that makes it far more realistic than other crime films, as the cops are just as crooked as the gangsters, if not more, and you find yourself rooting for Walken and Fishburne throughout, as main cop Caruso is a nasty vile character despite being on 'the right side of the law'. Speaking of which the acting from the three leads is absolutely fantastic. Walken and Caruso are as charismatic and mesmerising as ever, but it's the young Fishburne (previous to this, he had had few leads in movies) who amazes as the hip young drug dealer, and almost steals Walken's show.
But make no mistake, it is Walken's show. His presence in this movie is riveting, and he manages to make the psychotic Frank believable as a man trying to do right somehow through his twisted system of morals. You don't want to sympathise with him but somehow Walken makes you, and this is the movie's greatest achievement, like Reservoir Dogs after it, you want the 'Bad guys' to win or at least get out alive.
As a movie, it's absolutely essential viewing for anyone with an interest in this kind of film, and a damn good view for anyone else too. To be honest this is one of my favourite films of all time, and it very much snuck up on me. An underground classic.
As to the DVD, if you like extras as much as the movie itself, this is not a great DVD on account of the complete lack of anything except the movie and the menu system, but it is cheap, and it is a brilliant film, so I would still recommend it despite the lack of extras.
On a final note, the people who say this movie is violent are right. This is not for the weak of stomach as it is visceral and bloody, even in comparison to Reservoir Dogs. As far as violence goes this is probably one of the most graphic and dark crime films I've seen. So if you hate film violence, it'll probably not be for you.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrow's Walken on Blu-ray..., 6 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: King of New York (Arrow Video) Limited Edition SteelBook [Dual Format Edition] [DVD + Blu Ray] [Blu-ray] [1990] (Blu-ray)
Sorry... best title I could come up with.

One of these days, I should review a genuine DNR disaster (hey, I hear 'Predator''s going pretty cheap these days). Sadly, Arrow's latest release, 'King of New York', features a visible, well handled grain structure and plenty of detail, meaning I can't complain too much. While medium shots convey a pleasant enough level of fine detail, most close-ups are absolutely striking. Add in a real sense of depth, and Walken's remorseless visage has never looked so unnerving.

Colours also impress. Skin tones never look glaringly unnatural, while blood splatters the walls with rich enthusiasm. One scene, set in a dingy nightclub and lit entirely in blue, would be a prime contender for colour bleeding, but the picture remains stable throughout.

It's funny... the pasty blacks of 'Demons' came under heavy fire, but Arrow appear to have done a complete 180 here. Deep, dark, inky etc. with nary a compression artefact to be found, 'King' is mightily impressive in this department. I wouldn't completely rule out black crush, but I also wouldn't bother looking for any.

Nor should you go searching for edge enhancement, because there's virtually none of that either. This is a clean, natural-looking transfer that easily bests any previous releases.

Audio wise, the film's Stereo track is perfect. Strong, clear and precise - it's a faithful presentation of how 'King' was always meant to be heard. One or two lines of dialogue are barely comprehendible, but that's no fault of the disc (and can be easily rectified via the quick application of subtitles).

The 5.1 DTS-HD track is... another story, however. I read a few horror stories concerning earlier DVD versions featuring terrible audio, and it seems as though that infamous mix has made a return. It's a mess - the exact opposite of the stereo track, and it's almost as though there's one of those industrial-sized hand dryers you find in public toilets blowing throughout the whole thing. Worryingly, this is the disc's default track, so remember to switch it over before starting the film.

But barring the 5.1 misfire, I'd go out on a limb and state that 'King' is by far Arrow's best presentation to date. A pat on the back to all involved, and for the love of all that is cute and fluffy, PLEASE don't mess up 'Zombie Flesh Eaters'.

Onto the extra features, and it's almost all about Ferrara. There's a brand new interview with the man himself that runs for almost thirty minutes. This one is particularly revealing. He takes a gruff and sincere look back at a period of filmmaking that clearly doesn't exist anymore. And amidst all the factoids and anecdotes, you can even devise a fatal drinking game around how often Ferrara says "you know".

`A Short Film about the Long Career of Abel Ferrara' is a lengthy documentary in which his past collaborators discuss their work with the independent director, while `Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty' is a feature length doco that presents Abel at his most... Ferrariest.

Ferrara also pops up on one of the two featured audio commentaries. His chat track is surly to the extreme (telling us outright that he's been paid five thousand dollars to record it), but certainly an entertaining listen (he gets very excited during Steve Buscemi's brief appearances). Meanwhile, the second commentary is a chatty and enjoyable affair with several key crew members.

An interview with producer Augusto Caminito is the only other totally Abel-free extra. This is a relaxed account of 'King''s development that reveals its Italian connections, and the often memorable experiences had while working with Ferrara and Walken.

Then there're the obligatory trailers, a neat little booklet, and some excellent new artwork by Tom "The Dude Designs" Hodge that looks especially great on this very purple SteelBook edition.

Verdict

Again, if we ignore the 5.1 track, this has got to be Arrow's best work. Hardcore fans will be ecstatic when they pop 'King of New York' in, and once done with the film, there's a meaty selection of extras to plough through.

It helps that the film is great, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The version to get of a classic film, 24 April 2009
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This US release is the one to buy as it contains DVD extras and the picture quality is great. The UK special edition release had a really poor audio sound quality but here it's fine. As for the film itself it's a total classic with a brilliant Christopher Walken as Frank White just released from prison who sets out on reclaiming his position as the king by disposing of all rivals. Abel Ferrara is one of my all time favorite directors and his direction here is first class as always. It's atmospheric, highly stylish and full of energy (there's also a bit of sleaze). The film looks great and there's plenty of action too as well as a great cast. Lawrence Fishburn really shines as Walken's right hand man and David Caruso and Victor Argo are memorable also. The film isn't a chore to watch like some long winded gangster films as it's quite short and definitely should be in any film fans collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great edition but......, 6 Mar 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: King of New York (Arrow Video) Limited Edition SteelBook [Dual Format Edition] [DVD + Blu Ray] [Blu-ray] [1990] (Blu-ray)
This review solely focuses on the product, and not the film. The steel case is great, nice artwork and includes both Blu-ray and dvd inside. What it does not show you here, however, is the rather clumsy idea of sticking a piece of glossy paper onto the steel case, with what should normally be, easy-to-remove glue. The stuff they attach your new debit/credit cards to, on the letters. However, my experience was a mess. Firstly, you cannot open the case, without first removing the paper. So after removing it, and if you do without tearing it, it ends up being folded and put inside the booklet, unless you have otherwise scrapped it.
On it, is the product andmovie description, normally found on the back of a standard dvd print. But 'Arrow Films' didn't think this through with the steel case. I had to use 'Turps' or white spirit to remove the excess glue from the case, and it worked a treat. Do not try to scrape the glue off, otherwise you risk scratching the artwork printed on the steel case. Use a damp cloth and white spirit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Says Frank White, "I never killed anybody who didn't deserve it."., 24 Feb 2012
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: King of New York [DVD] (DVD)
A finer odd-ball, stylish, violent crime drama I've yet to see. King of New York gives us the rise and fall of Frank White (Christopher Walken), a quiet drug king released from prison who now wants to built a hospital in the South Bronx. The movie is mesmerizing in its corrupted morality, which includes us. We wind up hoping Frank gets away with it. The violence is dramatic and uncomfortably funny. Even the cops are as bad as some of Frank's gang, and that's saying a lot.

Cocaine is the currency of choice, and we see plenty of it -- in piles, in bags, in casks, in lines and in noses. The movie is dominated by men, but even the women -- girl friends, lawyers, mistresses -- all have a role to play, even if its just to be bare breasted and to do a lot of sniffing.

The cast features major dynamic performances from actors such as Lawrence Fishburne, David Caruso and Wesley Snipes. Fishburne turns in a virtuoso performance, whether gunning down the opposition with a revolver blazing in each hand, or ordering chicken, ribs, fish with tartar sauce and hold the potato salad. Even the smallest roles are vivid, featuring bits from Steve Buscemi, John Tuturro and Paul Calderon, among others. Victor Argo plays Frank's nemesis, tired and honorable Detective Roy Bishop, excellently.

Towering over them all is a fascinating, dominating performance by Christopher Walken. He doesn't show much emotion from Frank about anything. Still, "I never killed anybody who didn't deserve it.". He's right, in a queasy kind of way. Walken's Frank White dominates the movie. It's one of Walken's best performances.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film....very poor print, 3 Dec 2000
Abel Ferrera's superb gangster flick deserves a better DVD treatment than this. Full screen and as soft as your VHS copy even fora tenner this is a waste of your money. Wait for a better print.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and smouldering., 6 July 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: King of New York [DVD] (DVD)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frank White, a drug lord of New York, is released from prison and plans to make a more positive mark on the city. But after reuniting with his loyal and violence hungry gang, he finds the odds are very much stacked up against him. Not only has New York changed for the worse, being run by incompetent pretenders to his crown, but the police force are also after his head, dead or alive!

First time viewers to this picture should not go into it expecting some Scarface type gangster movie, I made that mistake almost 17 years ago and came out the cinema totally cheesed off! Revisiting the film now has opened up a whole new ream of delights that when put together have created a simmering, and brutal piece of work. What director Abel Ferrara has managed to do here is portray a fable of how a leopard never changes its spots, even tho it wants too. Frank White here a victim of his own past doings, with his reputation on the wane and the authorities with long and unforgiving memories.

What hits the most (outside of some brilliant acting) is Abel Ferrara's bleak yet gorgeous vision of a sin city Big Apple, the characters are all one step away from a death, that we the audience, hope comes swift and nasty, all cloaked in this plink plink lighted vision of the underworld. Ferrara choosing to pace his picture to give us a sense of pervading doom, it's quite a knack and means the viewers have to hang on in there to get to the wonderful, and dare I say it, bleakly appropriate conclusion.

Christopher Walken is Frank White and gives one of his best career performances, all scary eyes and dialogue spurting precision, he pours out grit and emotion to garner sympathy where he perhaps really shouldn't be getting it. Larry Fishburne, David Caruso, Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes, Janet Julian and Steve Buscemi fill out the cast list, with Fishburne and his manic Jimmy Jump character practically walking off with the movie. So all in all it's a visual delight and a story that is very good on the ears, with the violence perfectly harsh to flesh out the grim nature of this pot boiling crime picture.

Those in need of a pick me up should steer well clear 8/10.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrible sound, 16 Jun 2009
The film is ok but the sound quality of the dvd is terrible.
Avoid until it is released by another distributer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Badass, 31 Dec 2003
This review is from: King Of New York [VHS] (VHS Tape)
FORGET the italian mafia stuff - this is pure, gritty class from Abel Ferrara and is full of class actors. Low budget? Yes. But Christopher Walken's Frank White (ever listened to Biggie??!!) surpasses any other fictional gangsta I can think of - even the Godfather (yes I mean that). Lawrence Fishburne is explosive, David Caruso is determined. The only other film in its genre to rival this in terms of acting, music/sound, plot is Scarface. Simple. No argument. 10/10.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE KING IS DEAD...LONG LIVE THE KING!, 17 Nov 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Frank White (Christopher Walken) is a crime boss just released from prison. He rejoins his henchmen, headed up by Jimmy Jump (Laurence Fishburne). No sooner does White step out of prison, that the killing games begin. White is out to finance a local inner city hospital that is on the verge of being closed for lack of funding. He is determined to do this by using the ill gotten gains of drug trafficking, his and that of other drug lords. Since the others apparently will not relinguish the money voluntarily, force is used, quite a bit of it as a matter of fact, to get their money and/or drugs.
Officers Dennis Gilley (David Caruso) and Thomas Flanigan (Wesley Snipes) are part of a team of cops that are looking to stop White. They are outraged that he is out on the street and that they are seemingly unable to stop him by fair means. They decide to resort to foul means and end up all the worse for their efforts. Throughout the film, the line is sometimes blurred between the good guys and the bad guys. There is no happy ending here, and justice may or may not be deemed to have been served, depending upon the viewer's own subjective viewpoint.
The performances are good overall, and in particular, Fishburne's manic character, Jimmy Jump, is a good foil for Walker's coolly detached character, Frank White. This is not really a character driven movie, however, but rather a plot driven one. There is a lot of action, a lot of shootings and carnage, and some car chase scenes that will keep the viewer on edge. The violence, when it occurs, is bloody and protracted. Moreover, in addition to being bimbos and sex toys, the women also pack high powered heat and shoot with the best of them. Despite some plot holes, the film entertains, though just how entertaining the viewer will find this film will depend on the viewer's tolerance for violence.
The DVD itself is pretty much no frills, offering pretty standard features, such as widescreen, a theatrical trailer, scene access, and a music video. There is no commentary. The picture, though dark, is clear, as is the sound.
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