Across 110th Street - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Across 110th Street Reviews

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April 29, 2016
A gritty cop film from the early 70's features strong performances from Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto. It also features the classic song of the same name covered for Tarantino's "Jackie Brown". I like the film, but didn't loved it. Still found it worth a watch though.
April 24, 2016
another fave seventies movie where images and music blend so well
½ January 23, 2016
Having seen a lot of the Blaxploitation classics over the years, I find myself tracking down some of the smaller, lesser known films like this one, which is a very rewarding pursuit indeed.

A very well-done crime drama, well worth a look.

Give it a rental.
June 17, 2015
Apesar de, na essência, tratar-se de um objecto exploitation, "Across the 110th Street" exerce todos os esforços para alcançar outro tipo de dignidade: seja através da presença de Anthony Quinn (num papel pouco dado a simpatias) ou recorrendo a Bobby Womack para assinar a excelente banda-sonora. A década de setenta pode até estar carregada de filmes de guerras violentas entre gangues, mas nem todos conhecem a sorte de decorrer no bairro de Harlem dividido entre a máfia, pushers e a pouca autoridade que lá se atreve a entrar. Os restantes esforços de "Across the 110th Street" procuram estimular grandes ideias sobre o racismo, embora seja extremamente difícil chegar a qualquer conclusão no meio de tantos tiros e chapada.
½ April 9, 2015
Terrific NYC set crime story about a mafia bank that gets robbed by a group of black criminals dressed as cops. Racial tensions are the key undercurrent to the story as black cop, Yaphet Kotto, is partnered with racist Italian cop Anthony Quinn, both of whom are charged with stopping the Italian and Harlem mobs from going to war. The Italian suspect the Harlem crew of knocking off their bank and the Harlem crew doesn't much like being disrespected. Anthony Franciosa plays the main Italian mob leader and graveled voiced Richard Ward is terrific as the head of the Harlem mob. The film is also littered with familiar character actors like Antonio Fargas or Paul Benjamin. Fast paced, exciting action and strong performances all around add up to a terrific 70s crime flick that feels equal parts "The French Connection" and "Black Caesar." It's kind of disappointing that director Barry Shear spent most of his career directing unmemorable TV shows and forgettable B-pictures. Screenwriter Luther Davis also spend most of his career writing for TV and nothing all that memorable as well. It could be that the actors and locations elevated the film, but regardless, the end product is a classic.
April 6, 2015
Gritty,violent well done cop movie of the 70' of the better 70's cop movies.
January 26, 2015
Despite it's age I actually quite enjoyed this film.
September 27, 2014
Will never forget this movie as it's brilliantly crafted with magnificent portraitists by all the characters. What else you need from a movie ?
½ September 17, 2014
I was only familiar with Across 110th Street because the titular theme song was made popular by the release of Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. combines elements of both crime drama and blaxploitation so well with powerful acting and true grit.
June 10, 2014
I was only familiar with Across 110th Street because the titular theme song was made popular by the release of Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. And I felt a need to look back at the films that influenced him to make it, so when I heard that Across 110th Street was a critically acclaimed film that surpassed the standard of blaxsploitation films, I knew it had to be seen.

Across 110th Street transcends the limitations of the blaxploitation genre because even though it follows the traditional style of filmmaking usually implemented into a film of the genre, it is actually a legitimate crime drama that aspires to be something more. Across 110th Street has it's faults, but it actually tries to be better than the same basic blaxploitation film that everybody has already seen in films like Shaft. It adopts the visual style and groovy mood of the standard blaxploitation film and adds them to a film with gritty subject matter and serious intentions so that it grows to be a lot more than people may have once expected from it.
Director Barry Shear actually takes the opportunity really seriously in Across 110th Street, because the way that he integrates both a strong African-American figure like Lt. Pope into the story and teams him up with a semi-racist but streetwise figure like Capt. Mattelli so that the nature of Across 110th Street is versatile and deals with both African-American issues and the involvement of an Italian-American figure in the matters. Across 110th Street is more versatile than the standard blaxploitation film, and though it is not the most consistently interesting film it certainly has its virtues.
As with many blaxploitation films, Across 110th Street has a premise which is fairly formulaic of a crime drama and lacking of all that many surprises along the way. And the handling that director Barry Shear gives the film does not mean that it can transcend the nature of its story or the slow pace. So the script is imperfect, and despite the fact that it has a lot of sufficient dialogue for the actors to work with a plenty of sophistication the story just is not consistently interesting. That kind of has to be expected from crime dramas of the 1970's as many of them were routine and similar, and the fact that Across 110th Street manages to add more to that than the standard film is beneficial but there is still a lot of formulaic elements to it in terms of basic storytelling which a director like Barry Shear is not ready to break free from the limits of.
The fact is that Across 110th Street is a dated film and is not one of the more defining films of the blaxploitation era because it actually makes an effort to be something else, but the style of the film is just terrific. I mean, the cinematography has the same rough-edged gritty style of the standard blaxploitation film as well as being edited at a nice pace. And the action scenes are especially entertaining thanks to the visual style of the film capitalising on them and adding a touch of blood and gore in the right places. And it is all executed against the backdrop of some great scenery which is grey to symbolise the monotonous nature of the crime in the film.
The musical score of Across 110th Street is very energetic as well, and the titular theme song is just so damn groovy, so most of the best aspects of Across 110th Street lie in its technical characteristics and the fact that looking back at them by today's standards reveals a sense of nostalgia.
And thanks to the skilfully crafted dialogue in Across 110th Street, it ends up as a rounding success.
Yaphet Kotto makes a fine lead in. Due to the gritty nature of his line delivery, he supplies a natural sense of rough-edged sophistication. His stature is confident and so he supplies a viable leading man for the story because he deals with all of the material on a very professional level without resorting to stereotypical character elements. He constantly maintains a level of power in Across 110th Street since he has a lot of dedicated strength to the script, and so he leads the story well in a character that defies the stereotypical elements of most African-American blaxploitation heroes. Yaphet Kotto gives it his all in Across 110th Street and it empowers the drama of the film.
Anthony Quinn gives the most memorable performance of the film though. The two time Academy Award winner makes a powerful team with Yaphet Kotto because he is able to create a strong chemistry between the two which is tense due to the different backgrounds of the characters and the nature of the situations they approach, but Anthony Quinn comes out on top with the best performance of the film. He has a sense of humanity in the role, and along with it he also has a certain kind of fearlessness. Anthony Quinn steps up to the role of Capt. Mattelli with every intention of dominating the screen and that is precisely is what he is able to do since his execution is spot on in achieving the mood of the film. Executing a tense ability to interact with all the other characters in the film while also holding his own as a tough and gritty cop, Anthony Quinn finds the right kind of balance between themes in his performance which results in a fine leading effort. It is no surprise that Anthony Quinn's performance in Across 110th Street is powerful, and it is one of the finest aspects of the film.

So Across 110th Street has the flaws of a story which isn't the most consistently interesting and it is limited to being within the normal formula of a crime film from the 1970's, but the genuine fact that it combines elements of both crime drama and blaxploitation so well with powerful acting and true grit makes it worth the viewing.
February 9, 2014
Fantastic crime flick of the 70s!!
½ December 6, 2013
Though dated, it's one of the best actioners of the 1970s. The film benefits from sharp editing, on-location shooting and strong acting.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ June 2, 2013
"Across 110th Street pimps tryin' to catch a woman that's weak!" Yeah, this film's theme song doesn't exactly have the most subtle of lyrics, but it sure is one funky little ditty, and is certainly catchy enough to be more memorable than this film apparently. Barry Shear is off somewhere sarcastically thinking, "Thanks a lot, Quentin Tarantino, now this song is more popular than my movie", and all the while, Bobby Womack is genuinely thinking "Thanks a lot, Quentin Tarantino, now people actually remember me." No, I suppose Womack was an adequate success, though that's partially because he recorded a solo version of "Lookin' for a Love" and stole attention away from his brothers. Sure, Womack's brothers were providing backing vocals in the recording of the sort-of cover, but no one cares about backup vocalists, so I reckon that The Valentinos, as a whole, just couldn't catch a break. Hey, it could be worse, they could have lived in Harlem, and they were from Cleveland, which should tell you just how bad Harlem is for black people. I don't know about y'all, but I find this film highly realistic, because if I were so close to the edge of Harlem that I was in across 110th Street, mafia benefits are not, I hitting Central Park, which isn't to say that this film, as decent as it is, has other, more pressing problems.

A layered story that focuses on several characters and subplots, this film juggles more than I expected, and apparently more than it can handle, because although the film isn't necessarily uneven, or especially undercooked, the film takes on too much to fully flesh out, thinning out certain areas of exposition that would have reinforced your investment in the film, even though this film is slow enough without its breaks to meditate upon more thorough characterization. I won't go so far as to say that this film is strait-up dull, but when it slows down, it really limps out, slipping into quiet dry spells that meander along and often leave you wondering just when things are going to pick up. Rest assured that when the film does pick up, it's worth patience that is not all that firmly demanded, due to their being compensation for plenty of slow spots throughout the film, but make no mistake, this film is surprisingly a bit of a slow one that drags along with disengaging blandness to accompany disengaging conventions. Coming along in the early '70s, when films of this type were really starting to become abundant, this effort wasn't exactly trite for its time, and still touched upon aspects that weren't exactly explored inside and out by then-forthcoming brethren, but even for its time, this film had a tendency to succumb to tropes, and by now, what refreshing notes there are have become pretty dated, so it's hard not to look at this film - especially in retrospect - as just another member of the "Harlem Crime Drama Movement" (TM), complete with some questionable areas in dramatic storytelling. Many consider this effort a blaxploitation film, and if it is, then the evidence is limited, with one of the most glaring reflections of blaxploitation elements being subtlety issues, particularly in dramatic areas, but not with the typically over-the-top flavor that makes other, more formulaic blaxploitation films more forgivable, thus making the dramatic shortcomings extra disconcerting. Don't get me wrong, there is enough that is compelling about this film for the final product to win you over as borderline rewarding, but all-out goodness cannot quite be achieved, as the film undercooks too much, meanders too often, hits too many tropes and faces too many dramatic shortcomings, until it finally fizzles out as kind of underwhelming. Still, while the film doesn't quite kick as much as it potentially could have, it still comes close to the status of rewarding on the wings of enough competence to keep you going, or at least keep your eyes attracted.

Okay, perhaps Jack Priestley's cinematography isn't all that great, as several of its stylish lighting aspects have dated as hazy in some parts, and emphatic of technical limitations in others, but on the whole, Priestley's efforts remain fairly handsome, boasting a subtle glamour in the midst of grit that proves to be complimentary to both the tone of the film and attractive aesthetic punch-up, further complimented by the musical aspects that are, in some ways, more recognized than the film itself. As I said, the film is often a bit too quiet for its own good, as quietness further dries up the final product's limp atmosphere, so you "Jackie Brown" fans shouldn't expect this soundtrack to be as explored as you might hope, yet do expect the moments in which the soundtrack is, in fact, played up, to be lively ones, anchored by anything from J. J. Johnson's stylish and often fairly tasteful score, to entertainingly funky songs, both commercial at the time and original. Whether they're Johnson's efforts, or Bobby Womack's efforts, or the efforts of other stars of mainstream black music at the time, the music in this film, when actually used, colors up an atmosphere that is generally dried into limpness, and while the final product's musical and photographic strengths aren't enough to make this effort as rewarding as it could have been, they help, though not as much as the telling of this tale that is ironically as hurt as it is because of storytelling. Luther Davis' script is heavy with tropes and histrionics, and Barry Shear's directorial storytelling all too often limps out, but when things are done write in storytelling, you get a taste of what could have been, whether it be through tastefulness in what characterization there is, or through intense moments of atmospheric handling that actually are pretty effective, fleshing out the story as fairly engaging, with a well-established sense of consequence. If this is a blaxploitation film, then it, like the critics say, overcomes plenty of its limitations, of which there are still too many for the final product to reward, but not so many that you can't give glimpses of a compelling thriller that break up a consistent fair degree of engagement value, reinforced by a certain aspect that is stronger than it usually is in films of this type: acting. As a "blaxploitation" film, this film's acting could have either fallen as nothing special or kind of disconcertingly over-the-top, but when given their chance to shine, the talented performers behind this effort deliver more than expected, with range, restrained intensity and distinguishing soul that may be more than this film deserves, and fleshes out the characters more than script itself, to where you'd be pressed to not become invested in the fair deal of subplots throughout this somewhat layered dramatic thriller. Were the film as effective as its performers' acting, it would have rewarded as a thoroughly engaging crime drama, but as things stand, the acting is just one of several aspects that power the film as enjoyable, with high points that firmly secure decency, no matter how much it goes shaken.

"I got one more thing I'd like to talk to y'all about right now", and that is, well, a rehashed mentioning of the exposition issues, slow spells, conventionalism and subtlety issues that lay heavy blows upon compellingness and drive the final product just short of good, but not so short that decency isn't secured by the handsome cinematography, lively, if underused score and soundtrack, rich high points in writing and direction, and myriad of surprisingly strong performances that make "Across 110th Street" a generally reasonably compelling dramatic crime thriller that could have been more, but proves to be pretty enjoyable on the whole.

2.75/5 - Decent
½ March 6, 2013
This film includes one of the greatest beatings ever seen in movie history. Tony Franciosa lays a vicious whipping on Antonio Fargas, aka Huggy Bear in a Harlem nightclub. Awesome! Try to see the un-edited version! Edited one sucks.
½ February 21, 2013
Great theme song and I love the 70s grit, but the plot wasn't too absorbing.
½ January 29, 2013
This is the kind of movie that Quentin Tarantino jacks off to every night before he goes to sleep. Seriously though, a real sleeper.
December 26, 2012
Not sure whether this fits firmly enough in the category of Blaxploitation or not. Firstly, its star is Quinn a white actor and not Kotto so it doesn't exactly follow tradition. However it does have an impressive score featuring songs from soul singer Bobby Womack. Thirdly, whilst it has the clothes, the guns and the cars, it doesn't have the I'm really not sure what to think. Overall though, its gritty and interesting but just not as cool as it could have been, say if it were John Shaft calling the shots.
August 24, 2012
hell yeah stinky breath motherfuckers this shit right here is also the tittle of my forthcomming blackpearl music group album the movie was the shisnik lame azz cockaroches only a fag in drag would have missed a blockbuster of a movie
½ August 24, 2012
Våldsam, välspelad med suverän musik. Yaphet Kotto är typ tre gånger så cool som Clintan i Dirty Harry.
½ August 24, 2012
This movie is real and powerful because it doesn't waste time trying to be politically correct.
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