Do you think it's a good movie?
I think it's very good.share
It's a fun crime movie to watch, but after re-watching it again, I can't help but scoff at all of the improbabilities and plot devices used to take the story forward. The biggest one for me is Frank's crew not getting any push back from various syndicates he's taken down. From killing a Mafia "boss" to successfully taking out the lead drug importer in China town there's just nothing common sense about the methodology and the repercussions (or lack thereof).
The second biggest flaw was trying to tell a story of Frank White being like Robin Hood with his idea of keeping a public hospital afloat using drug sale money. We don't really see much motivation behind Frank's intention other than trying to do "one good thing" which he explains to a complicit girlfriend (she's a terrible actress too btw).
Then you have the rogue cops who somehow triple in numbers and stage a bungled murder posing as West Coast drug dealers. That whole scenario takes the cake because after the shootout and fatalities of all the cops David Caruso's character somehow avoids being investigated AND he attends the funeral dressed as a civilian?
Aside from the above, the movie has some really nice photography and sound engineering which captures a lot of urban NYC Metro environment better than most Woody Allen films, but again the idea of Frank White's character seems to be underdeveloped. Christopher Walken provided a chilly performance but it was more of a facade backed up by nothing.
Every word of this^^^share
I'm not sure it's so entirely unrealistic in its era. You could argue that the mob had been neutered by the RICO prosecutions of the 1980s and that the "crime world" was a kind of chaos dominated by local warlords and ripe for the takeover by a Frank White kind of character. Or at least it would have seemed plausible in the moment.
And are the number of crooked cops really that far off in NYC of 1990? Guiliani's "law and order" New York was ascendant, and I think the cops were being given a blank check to go after criminals at that point.
I mean, it's all kind of crazy -- there seems to be no way a Frank White kind of character could ever gain the kinds of influence and loyalty in any era, but in 1990 it seems not entirely implausible.
In 1990 it didn't seem plausible because that's when it came out and that's when I saw it. It's never explained how Frank controlled the importation of drugs as he supposedly wiped out the Triad heroin importer AND the Colombian cocaine importer in one fell swoop. Okay, so it was gritty and awesome to see him take them out, but where is he going to get the following shipments of drugs from? In the real world, Frank's crew would have been knocking off local drug dealers FIRST before staking claim as the only distributor in NYC. Abe Ferrara seems to be ignorant of that basic tenant in illegal black market business dealing.
Also, you mention Guiliani's "law and order" era as a supportive reason why the rogue cop crew existed. I don't know what stories you've read but Guiliani never approved of activity exhibited by these cops. They were hellbent on some unexplained beef they have with Frank White but ironically weren't too interested in King Tito, the Mafia, or the Triads. If it were to make sense, Ferrara could have at least showed us that these were dirty cops and that they were taking a financial hit from his consolidation, BUT that wasn't the case here either.
The reality was that Crack Cocaine was destroying many communities, particularly the black communities in major US metro areas but Frank's crew seemed only interested in puro powder for elites. But even that's a stretch because there's no detail behind his organization, just flash and dazzle, which I've already said was expertly photographed and edited. It's just the story itself is rather shallow and lite on the details.
80s flash - too bad - should have been better
Nah, bad pacing, some overacting, a lot of implausible events.
The star power is the reason for this movie’s popularity, with Christopher Walken, Wesley Snipes, Laurence Fishburne.