New Jack City (1991)


A team of maverick cops investigate when a gangster takes over an entire tenement block in the New York ghetto.

Although this film enjoys a good reputation as a hard-hitting, socially conscious representation of life in “the hood”, it is actually exactly the kind of testosterone-soaked, cliched crap that Mario Van Peebles has made his bread and butter ever since. Tacking on montages of drug use and a couple of lines about the “drug problem” at the end does not a social documentary make. It’s really just the same old straight to DVD standard Van Damme/Seagal level tripe with a Blaxploitation spin and features some of the kinds of fashions that have been forgotten with good reason. Not to mention a soundtrack that ignores the era in which some of the best hip hop was made, instead littering it with the kind of R’n’B warbling that was the worst thing to ever happen to popular music. The direction is beyond amateurish, script cliche-riddled and dumb and performances vary between laughable stereotypes and just plain awful – Chris Rock is truly dire and the Pookie-on-the-pipe montage is one of the most laughable attempts at manipulation I’ve ever seen.

Try King Of New York or Dead Presidents instead, because New Jack City is just substandard junk trying to make a few bucks out of showing black people kill each other and pretending it has a “message”.



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