What The Hell Happened To Wesley Snipes?
From the A-list to direct-to-video...the Tomatometer tracks where he went wrong.
Odd Decisions and a Rotten Run of Luck
Once he achieved action-star status, Snipes took nary a detour...with a few exceptions. The most conspicuous diversion in his mid- to late- 90s trajectory was also his most surprising role to date: drag queen Noxeema Jackson in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. While the comedy would gain a cult audience, it reaped only modest box office returns. His third team-up with Woody Harrelson, the buddy comedy Money Train, also proved critically and commercially disappointing. Snipes ventured further outside his niche by dabbling in projects for television, appearing in the award-winning HBO series America's Dream (for which he won an Image Award), providing guest vocals to HBO's children's animated series Happily Ever After, and producing and starring in the TV film Futuresport. But overall critical indifference to these outside ventures seemingly led Snipes back to his bread and butter, and he returned with starring roles in The Fan, Murder at 1600, and U.S. Marshals.
Sadly, even these action star roles wouldn't completely pay off for Snipes. Back in his comfort zone (the run'n'gun thriller genre), even playing opposite the likes of Robert De Niro, Alan Alda, and Tommy Lee Jones couldn't pull Snipes out of his critical slump. More detours into unexpected territory ensued, with mixed results. Top lining the Mike Figgis drama One Night Stand did not work out as well for Snipes as Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas had for Nicolas Cage the year before, though another dramatic role, in the Maya Angelou-directed Down in the Delta, drew praise -- and, at 76 percent on the Tomatometer, gave him the last Fresh Tomatometer of his career to date.
[Around this time, Snipes co-founded The Royal Guard of Amen-Ra, an elite bodyguard training organization. He also began filing for false tax refunds in the state of Florida as a client of an illegal tax evasion operation, a move that would lead to his pending prison sentence.]
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