7.0/10
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King of New York (1990)

A drug kingpin is released from prison and seeks to take total control of the criminal underworld in order to give back to the community.

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jimmy Jump (as Larry Fishburne)
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Joey Chin ...
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Blood (as Leonard Lee Thomas)
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Tanner (as Roger Smith)
Carrie Nygren ...
Melanie
Ernest Abuba ...
King Tito
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Storyline

After completing a lengthy prison sentence, one-time drug kingpin Frank White returns to New York intent on reestablishing his empire and making things as they were before he left. Others of course have taken over the business during his absence but that clearly isn't going to stop White. While he is gunning down the opposition, he decides he's going to give away the money he'll make to modernize the hospital in his old neighborhood. Drug dealers aren't the only thing he has to worry about however: a group of rogue cops decide they are going to take him down. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Not everyone who runs a city is elected. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

28 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El rey de New York  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,554,476 (USA)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the "night shots" in the film were shot at either dusk or dawn for the best lighting. See more »

Goofs

In the subway scene where Frank is making out with his attorney, he lifts the back of her jacket revealing a wireless microphone pack attached to her skirt. See more »

Quotes

Frank White: How come you never came to see me?
Jump: Who wanted to see you in a cage, man?
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Soundtracks

Dream On
Words & Music / Joe Delia (as Delia) - Nicholas St. John (as St. John)
Slymoon Pub. Co. BMI
Performed by Freddie Jackson
(c) 1989
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User Reviews

 
Walken Is The "King"
12 March 2001 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

The ruthless underbelly of the New York criminal world is examined somewhat graphically in `King of New York,' directed by Abel Ferrara, and starring Christopher Walken. Upon release from prison, New York crime boss Frank White (Walken), determines to become a major player in the city's underworld and wastes no time in putting the wheels of his plan in motion. Among the major obstacles he encounters are King Tito (Ernest Abuba) and Larry Wong (Joey Chin), both kingpins of their respective organizations, veteran detective Roy Bishop (Victor Argo), and Dennis Gilley (David Caruso), a young, hot-headed Irish cop who seemingly single-handedly wants to take back the city from the riffraff who control it and seem somehow impervious to prosecution. None of which matters to White, who is adamant in his quest to become the King of New York. Though hard-hitting and excessively violent, Ferrara's film lacks the grittiness of say, Scorsese's `Mean Streets,' or `Taxi Driver,' but nevertheless makes an impact, due mainly to the unfettered violence, as well as the subtle, understated menace Walken brings to the role of Frank White. There's an edginess that permeates the film and the characters who bring it all to life, with the exception of White, who-- as played by Walken-- is the picture of restraint, the eye in the center of the storm. And it's that cold, soulless, almost haunted look of his that makes him so disconcerting. It's the contrast between his calm demeanor (which threatens to explode at any moment) and the overt violence with which he is surrounded, that gives him that sense of power, and it's also one of the strengths of the film. There is definitely something unsettling about Walken's presence in a role like this (and indeed with many of the characters he's portrayed in his many films); he has a natural ability and the looks-- which he uses so well to his advantage-- to convey the very essence of evil in all it's myriad forms. If they is any doubt, check him out in `Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead,' and `Sleepy Hollow,' just to mention a couple. He has the tools to make you believe his characters, and with adroit skill he uses them all, as he does here with his creation of White; and his performance is one of the highlights of the movie. Walken doesn't have the floor to himself in that regard, however, as Laurence Fishburne (billed here as `Larry') gives a memorable, high-powered performance as well, as Jump, White's main man who provides the muscle for his organization. Fishburne pulls out all the stops and laces Jump with high voltage energy that never runs out, while taking a page from the John Woo Book by brandishing pistols in both hands at once, which serves to enhance his lethal potential. And his over-the-top, in-your-face attitude is the perfect antithesis to Walken's calm, and is in it's own way just as disturbing in the aloof disregard of-- and lack of respect for-- life. I guarantee this is one pair of hoodlums you will not soon forget. The supporting cast includes Wesley Snipes (Thomas), Janet Julian (Jennifer), Giancarlo Esposito (Lance), Paul Calderon (Joey) and Steve Buscemi (Test Tube). Ferrara's film is fast paced and relentless, and he adds a nice touch to the ending that contrasts well with all that precedes it, and yet `King of New York,' even with the outstanding performances of Walken and Fishburne, never quite captures that elusive something that would've taken it above and beyond the average crime action/drama. It does have it's moments, however, and the aforementioned performances alone are worth the price of admission. Just don't come to this one expecting anything extraordinary; it's a good movie, but the Oscars will have to wait for another day. I rate this one 6/10.


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