What The Hell Happened To Wesley Snipes?

From the A-list to direct-to-video...the Tomatometer tracks where he went wrong.

Becoming a Bankable Star

  • 83% -- Mo' Better Blues (1990)
  • 75% -- King of New York (1990)
  • 79% -- New Jack City (1991)
  • 89% -- Jungle Fever (1991)
  • 77% -- White Men Can't Jump (1992)
  • 92% -- The Waterdance (1992)


    The early 1990s marked a turn towards dramatic roles that served Snipes' burgeoning career well. First, he teamed up with Spike Lee to contribute a memorable performance as Denzel Washington's saxophonist pal in Mo' Better Blues, and later that year joined the ensemble cast of Abel Ferrara's acclaimed blood opera, King of New York. The combination of a plum role as megalomaniac drug lord Nino Brown in New Jack City and his first star turn in Lee's Jungle Fever cemented Snipes' rise to the ranks of leading man. This would also be the best-reviewed period of his career -- and with nary a windsprint or karate chop to be seen! In 1991, Snipes also founded his own production company, Amen Ra Films, which would go on to produce The Big Hit, Snipes' telefilm Futuresport, and the Blade trilogy.

    After those bloody urban flicks and Spike Lee joints, Snipes went for another change of pace. In 1992, he took on a supporting role as a paraplegic in The Waterdance, which won an Independent Spirit Award and earned him the highest Tomatometer of his career. Reuniting with his Wildcats co-star Woody Harrelson, Snipes also starred as a street ball-playing hustler in the buddy-basketball comedy, White Men Can't Jump, earning more critical praise and mainstream recognition. But by late 1992, Hollywood action roles were a'calling...and Snipes was on speed dial.



    Next: The Action Star Years
  • Comments

    hewpot

    Ballsack Enormous

    snip

    Aug 13 - 07:51 PM

    Jen Yamato

    Jen Yamato

    snip?

    Aug 13 - 08:13 PM

    NuBz18

    Christopher Lozier

    lovely, jen. hilarious and wonderfully informative. how about de niro? pacino? while they're not forgotten, they've made some very odd career choices lately (godsend, gigli, 88 minutes, hide and seek, et al). cheers! :)

    Aug 15 - 02:47 PM

    djwoogiefresh

    DJ Woogie Fresh

    Snipes is the biggest actor that you will every know. It's kinda of like the 2-Pac story but better. It's like the Mohammed Ali story and even bigger. It's like the rebirth of SAM COOK. You will never be able really know about Snipes until he is dead and gone because of the respect that people have for him. He is one of the greatest Actors ever...
    DJ WOOGIE FRESH/SOUNDSTHATPOUND

    Sep 2 - 08:57 AM

    Brian82

    Brian McAleer

    What a shame! Very talented actor, but I always guessed he had personal issues. I got that impression from seeing him in interviews and at premieres. He's only human after all. And he might make a comeback. Just look at Robert Downey Jnr....

    Aug 13 - 08:22 PM

    Brian82

    Brian McAleer

    What a shame! Very talented actor, but I always guessed he had personal issues. I got that impression from seeing him in interviews and at premieres. He's only human after all. And he might make a comeback. Just look at Robert Downey Jnr....

    Aug 13 - 08:25 PM

    StonetheCrow

    First Last

    He should just do that ' Black Panther ' film
    right ****ing NOW.
    That will save him.

    Aug 13 - 08:25 PM

    Jen Yamato

    Jen Yamato

    Good point. If only Snipes could make a comeback like RDjr...

    Aug 13 - 08:26 PM

    jokerboy1991

    jack giroux

    You know I have had this idea for months its awesome! No need to thank me... Yeah but I think with Downey he has been making plenty of great films to lead him up to his big summer comeback, like Zodiac, Scanner Darkly, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and I dont think Snipes has made any movies close to RD'J's level. Plus doesnt Snipes have to go too jail?!?!?!

    Aug 13 - 08:33 PM

    jokerboy1991

    jack giroux

    You know I have had this idea for months its awesome! No need to thank me... Yeah but I think with Downey he has been making plenty of great films to lead him up to his big summer comeback, like Zodiac, Scanner Darkly, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and I dont think Snipes has made any movies close to RD'J's level. Plus doesnt Snipes have to go too jail?!?!?!

    Aug 13 - 08:33 PM

    fullmetal_medji

    John Reese

    Snipes could make a comeback, but of course he would have to stop giving us bad movies like The Art of War 2. Seriously though did the world need a bad sequel to that horrible first movie.

    Aug 13 - 08:45 PM

    thug4life1979

    jamie boot

    come back? this guy isnt a has-been, he is a never-was

    Aug 13 - 08:53 PM

    Matanuki

    Matanuki .

    Wesley Snipes is a "never-was"? lol. Maybe in the world that exists only in your head.

    Aug 14 - 01:21 AM

    LoMaX

    andrew lomax

    I didn't realize that blade was so poorly reviewed.....22%

    Aug 13 - 08:58 PM

    stealingjoy

    Luke Hahn

    Blade has a 55% on RT... don't know why it says 22%.

    Aug 13 - 09:17 PM

    randal1013

    Randal 1013

    US marshalls is way better than a 25%. sometimes the critics are just wrong.

    Aug 13 - 09:22 PM

    jokerboy1991

    jack giroux

    Yeah I thought US Marshalls was actually pretty good, sure it was a rip off of the awesome "The Fugitive" but it was pretty entertaining.

    Aug 13 - 09:59 PM

    jeremyd4

    jeremy d

    Wasn't US Marshalls a spin-off/sequel to The Fugitive?

    Aug 14 - 12:08 AM

    Brad 3000

    Brad Arnold

    Um, US Marshals wasn't a rip off of The Fugitive- it was a sequel. I'm not making a joke here. Tommy Lee Jones was the same character - US Marshal Samuel Gerard - that he played in The Fugitive. That said, it is a horrible movie and all of you people who are defending it must be high.

    Aug 14 - 10:01 AM

    dontknow252

    aj meadows

    jokerboy, that is the single raddest avatar ever!

    Aug 15 - 11:25 PM

    Dachshund96

    Alpha Z

    Snipe is an idiot. He friking stuck on himself. If he doesn't get things to go his way he plays the race card. Plays the same damn character every movie.

    Aug 13 - 09:37 PM

    KISSman

    Tommy D

    After going through this list of films, it actually surprised me that it takes a second hand to count how many Snipes movies that I really like. My favorite is probably "Demolition Man" (which I was shocked to find out was deemed 'fresh').

    "Blade", "Blade: Trinity", "Murder at 1600", "U.S. Marshalls" and "Passenger 57" are all really good flicks and yet totally 'rotten' according to the Tomatometer. IMO, the problem has more to do with the screwy Tomatometer and less to do with Snipes.

    Aug 13 - 09:59 PM

    jokerboy1991

    jack giroux

    Yeah I thought US Marshalls was actually pretty good, sure it was a rip off of the awesome "The Fugitive" but it was pretty entertaining.

    Aug 13 - 09:59 PM

    jeremyd4

    jeremy d

    Wasn't US Marshalls a spin-off/sequel to The Fugitive?

    Aug 14 - 12:08 AM

    Brad 3000

    Brad Arnold

    Um, US Marshals wasn't a rip off of The Fugitive- it was a sequel. I'm not making a joke here. Tommy Lee Jones was the same character - US Marshal Samuel Gerard - that he played in The Fugitive. That said, it is a horrible movie and all of you people who are defending it must be high.

    Aug 14 - 10:01 AM

    dontknow252

    aj meadows

    jokerboy, that is the single raddest avatar ever!

    Aug 15 - 11:25 PM

    mandrake2004

    robert drake

    Snip.

    Aug 13 - 10:38 PM

    buttamack

    Ronnie Lewis

    Wesley Snipes should punch his agent square in the nuts! He needs to be doing movies like Keanu Reeves instead of Steven segal. He is a better actor than reeves and a more bankable action star, because his athleticism allows him to do most of his own stunts even in his mid 40's. I would love to see snipes in one of these new genration Action/Dramas where he can show off both his "acting and Karate chops"!

    Aug 13 - 10:43 PM

    Product_of_You

    Steven Edwards

    How exactly did Robert Downey Jr. make a comeback? He never really fell out. And he was certainly nowhere near starring in strictly straight to dvd films like Wesley Snipes. RDJ just happened to land a couple of really big movies around the same time.

    Aug 13 - 11:21 PM

    jeremyd4

    jeremy d

    Wasn't US Marshalls a spin-off/sequel to The Fugitive?

    Aug 14 - 12:08 AM

    Jen Yamato

    Jen Yamato

    Hmm. I may have been temporarily dyslexic, posted 22 instead of 55. It's Rotten anyhow! (No offense to the dyslexics in the room.) Fixed it, thanks.

    Aug 14 - 12:10 AM

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