King of New York (1990) - Crime, Thriller

Hohum Score



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.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Christopher Walken, David Caruso
Length: 103 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 17 out of 133 found boring (12.78%)

One-line Reviews (86)

The King of New York should be boring, it moves slowly and deliberately for much of the film, the look of the film is quite washed out with drab backgrounds and much of the background music is quiet and orchestral.

Granted, the movie is very grim and gritty stuff, and it may be too violent for some tastes, but it's gripping as hell and the characters are all compulsively watchable.

A little known gangster movie with a huge subcore of fans, King of NY is a watchable film that blends street smarts w/entertaining dialog.

Ferrara makes an entertaining film which, though it doesn't offer a great deal of new material, offers some unique characterizations and avoid devolving into straight action.

Yes, MTV stylization was in vogue two decades ago, and delusion can often be invaluable to camp, but the fact is that, aside from the most often quoted six or seven moments of high camp, this film is mostly dull, filled with bad acting, an even worse script, by Nicholas St. John, and its divorce from all reality, while probably a better choice than splitting the difference, still leaves a viewer yawning far too often per capita (bodycount, really).

Joe Delia's haunting soundtrack is a perfect compliment to Bojan Bazelli's moody visuals-Walken's confrontation scene of the old-style Mafiosos is as classic as it is intense.

The photography (by Bojan Bazelli) is absolutely stunning - this is one of the best looking nighttime-in-New York films I've seen, the actions sequences are exciting, and the performances mostly solid with Walken be compelling if a bit too enigmatic to make us really feel anything much about him.

Lawrence Fishburne, Victor Argo, Steve Buscemi and Wesley Snipes) gives a riveting performance.

It's hardly surprising, seeing as Walken is a fantastic actor who always brings something interesting and compelling to dark roles such as this.

There were scenes in the ending that had some holes in them but looking past that with a soft eye it's still very enjoyable and had one of the best bumper car chase sequences out there!

But you should see this movie anyway, the performances of Walken and Fishburn are enough to watch this movie, and they keep it entertaining until the end.

DIsc One has an running commentary track by the director (Which the director didn't want to the commentary track until he was payed $5,000 to do it), the second commentary track by the producer Mark Kane-Editor Anthong Redman-Composer Joe Delia and Associate Producer Randy Sabusawa is more entertaining than the director's track.

Generally it's rather nicely put together though, with a few really blistering set pieces, especially an extended indoor shootout set to house music and shot through a blue haze, is impressive and gripping, and when it continues out on the rainy streets, in cars, it doesn't loose a beat.

Walken is more stylized and a little less "real", but there's still more depth to his character than originally appears on first viewing, and he is compelling what ever way you look at it.

The film presents an intense man that is released from prison.

Nevertheless a powerful and fascinating film!!!

For example the opening scene is way too long.

For it's stylish direction, brilliant performances and intriguing story line, King of New York is my favorite gangster movie of all time.

The film is slow, with some great camera games (notice Walken's stare right into the camera when he's having the shower in the beginning of the movie), and some twisted scenes which I will not mention as I hate spoilers.

The flick itself doesn't look like a nineties flick because it's rather a slow builder.

Finally the film feels mostly like an excuse for its several excellent violent set pieces - a shootout at a big drug deal in a warehouse, an exciting street chase by car and then on foot in the rain, Frank's final confrontation with Roy - and some solid proto-gangsta styling from Schooly D.

Abel Ferrara's depressing tale of a vengeful and unscrupulous mob leader who wants to take over the Big Apple - characterized incredibly intense by Christopher Walken - is probably the most realistic cinematic attempt at modern "mafiadom".

He constantly finds himself in murky waters and he's very compelling in a movie that isn't generous in giving him sharp dialog to work with.

Dark, Stylish and Entertaining Thriller .

A most enjoyable trip through the psycho wasteland of big drug operators and the cops who try to bust them.

The movies suspenseful final sequence with Frank wounded in a cab stuck and surrounded by the police in a Time Square traffic jam was the perfect ending for a perfect movie.

That said this is a mildly entertaining movie if you like gruesome mob flicks, which I personally do.

Bojan Bazelli's beautifully slick, sparkling cinematography, Joe Delia's elegant, exciting score and the strikingly haunting ending are all likewise on the money excellent as well.

They were both action packed and the first must have had some influence on Grand Theft Auto as it looked just like the sort of shoot-out that game would present.

Fishburne is worth watching, though Steve Buscemi and Giancarlo Esposito don't really do much except stand around in the background.

The IMDb trivia notes for the movie state that the director and writer spent five years working on the script, yet the story is disjointed and doesn't have a strong plot.

In this film, that spit certainly leaves a mark and Ferrara walks away with something rather stunning.

SPOILER ALERT The movie was worth watching just to see David Caruso's head blown off with Christopher Walken saying "hey you".

Towering over them all is a fascinating, dominating performance by Christopher Walken.

There's a good ominous score by Joe Delia, with evocative use of hip-hop on the soundtrack (notably Schoolly D's Am I Black Enough For You) and the movie was a big influence on New York rappers, such as Notorious B.

Lots of over the top violence in a very empty wastelandish NYC.

Directed by Abel Farrara (Body Snatchers "1994", The Blackout, China Girl) made an intriguing crime drama with some dark touches of humour and religion.

Visceral Extremity and Existential Confusion .

The direction by Abel Ferrara is excellent,stylish and visually stunning,giving the film a great dark and gritty tone,while using different colors and always moving the camera.

Everything is so over the top, and with such glee, it makes the film that bit more enjoyable.

Lazy, sloppy writing sinks great line-up of actors in this trite mob vs.

It's worth watching for this performance alone.

It was dull and slow paced.

This little known film somehow flew under the radar when released in 1990 but is just as entertaining as the movies I listed above.

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.

Ruthless college-educated crime kingpin Frank White (a splendidly twitchy and intense portrayal by the always fantastic Christopher Walken) gets sprung from prison and decides to monopolize the New York City drug trade by bumping off his even nastier rivals.

The drama is very intense and for once we actually see what these guys are made of.

But the climax of this film is where it's really at as everything that has been building up to this comes to an exciting head.

That could be its weakness, because superficial poses and violence upon violence can get boring.

The plot is irrelevant, the dialog dull and the characters wooden.

It's only when Walken shows up in these scenarios (yes, he dances to hip hop: two fine moments) are they intrinsically interesting or superficially engaging.

Fishburne is OTT but also very enjoyable, Argo is always reliable and Snipes is a surprise inclusion.

Under-written, plotless action-thriller .

) is yet another vicious gangland melodrama from Abel Ferrara: this is actually a slight step up from FEAR CITY (1984; see above) but, for all the film's patent slickness, it is gradually done in by annoying characters, mannered performances and ponderous direction.

The plot is pretty thin, and as is typical with Ferrara, there's little substance or depth (aside from his fascinating pictorial of the big apple).

This structure kind of makes the story predictable.

The film ends in a slow languid scene that is in obvious contrast to the hectic action that preceded it, and the scene is quite fitting for a crime film in which there are no real winners.

Edgy Crime Drama, Gripping & Entertaining...

Abel Ferrara succeeds in making this an exciting time at the movies, for no one is going to be bored following its action.

Christopher Walken's performance surely belongs to the most breathtaking acting ever displayed on celluloid.

Christopher Walken deserves all the credit for his fascinating performance, because the man oozes coolness.

I love the fact that this film is so deliciously bad - so many films have dialogue but no character development, have good characters but no plot, etc. This film does EVERYTHING wrong - and it plays the same cheesy music throughout!

It is a lot of flash, but Ferrara grabbed some truly stunning guerrilla film making shots.

A question though - since the cops were about as deep as puddles, why waste so much time with them instead of having another shootout.

The plus point of this movie is that it's short, but the linear pattern of the movie somewhat feels disjointed.

Christopher Walken has a (self-indulgent) field day as Frank White, a gangster-cum-humanitarian who, when he is not hanging out with his black cohorts and partying up a storm with his molls, is killing off his adversaries in nasty streetfights or rubbing shoulders with elite society at gala dinners.

Entertaining and completely overblown gangster flick with a powerhouse central performance by Christopher Walken.

Frank is a monster who sees himself as a businessman, but judging him on moral grounds (like Caruso does) is a waste of time - he simply responds to market forces.

I can't say I think all his movies have been completely successful, but they are NEVER boring, and when he's on top of his form he is simply one of the most exciting directors around.

It is short, sharp, action packed and to the point and it is one of those rare gems that actually has a fantastic ending.

a fairly good film, but for unexpected reasons .

Overall an excellent movie definitely worth watching.

The idea that he is supposed to be a vampire, which I have heard from several people, seems somewhat far-fetched, but there are nevertheless several references to vampires that make the character all the more fascinating.

A lengthy car chase and shoot out during a heavy rain storm rates as the definite rousing action highlight.

The movie's ending is unexpected...

It has four of the best actors of this generation playing intense, almost perfectly written roles.

This has the bizarre effect of making the film both interestingly idiosyncratic and totally uninteresting.

Without revealing too much, its a movie worth watching, and worth a second watch for that matter.


There are few plot twists, and few unexpected happenings.

As for the storyline, it has no real direction, rambling along at too slow a pace to be interesting.

King of New York is a typical gangster film but the controversy surrounding the film, which includes originally getting an X-rating, is what makes it so unique and in the end highly entertaining.

I never really got to know Walken's character, nor the cop's really, so the conflict between them seemed staged, false and uninteresting.

Overall mostly trite, formulaic and repetitively repugnant (shoot-outs, drug orgies, shoot-outs, drug orgies...

Abel Ferrara's King Of New York shows a man drawn in by the seedy corridors of grime and filth, entranced by the opportunistic lives of people on the edge of reason and caged in a nasty fight for survival in a city that doesn't forgive or hand out second chances without a heavy cost.

I love the fact that this film is so deliciously bad - so many films have dialogue but no character development, have good characters but no plot, etc. This film does EVERYTHING wrong - and it plays the same cheesy music throughout!