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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 February 2002
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 December 2015
In this 1984 thriller a martial arts fanatic is hacking and slashing strippers and the guys in charge of the largest stripper agency are worried especially Matt Rossi (Berenger) a retired boxer who fears his bisexual ex girlfriend Loretta [Melanie Griffith] might be the next.
Given the subject matter and topics touched upon –bisexuality, drug abuse, sadistic mutilations, and set against a seedy background of erotic dancing, this should be a riveting view but is somehow lacklustre. The clubs are smart and clinical, the girls beautiful but bored, and the pace is often too relaxed for its own good, not helped by the laid back soundtrack hardly seeming to get into gear. The romance between Rossi and Loretta lacks any bite and Rossi’ flashbacks to his boxing career seem pointless waffle and we know the killer from the start so there’s no suspense and even the showdown between the two main gangs is unconvincing.
The single disc loads to main menu offering Play, trailer, scene selection, special features [cast & filmmaker, still] and peepshow [basically letterbox format of opening dance scenes]. A neat feature is the backing track gets louder each time it plays if you don’t select anything.
Full of promise at the start, even topless dancing by beautiful women can’t save this average movie from being a mediocre **. It’s like an episode of ‘Starsky and Hutch’ or ‘Miami Vice’, without the action or driving music. If you want action or eroticism, look elsewhere as this seems to be riding on the name of it’s director and main actors/actresses.
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on 25 September 2008
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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on 19 January 2016
Story is compelling different and old, all about a maniac running around loose in the city attacking street girls and dancers, that a bouncer decides to take matters in his own hands and deal with the problem, The attacker has a nut loose so his ideas start to backfire by making mistakes and yet he is not the only one. They finally track him down and there goes the fireworks, So now I rated this an A grade for being very active with plenty of suspense, thrills coming left, right and centre. Story and cast did a fabulous job so what more do you need just think about it, Tom is a marvellous actor and puts in the effort to do things right, I must admit he got better at it over time, so collect the movie and munchies sit with feet up while watching wonderful entertainment that will rock you a bit considering its a classic. Enjoy!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 September 2013
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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on 25 December 2011
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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on 6 July 2016
Région all !!!
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