King of New York

1990

King of New York

Critics Consensus

King of New York covers familiar narrative ground with impressive style -- and leaves plenty of room for its talented cast to deliver gripping performances.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,134
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Movie Info

Upon his release from prison, ruthless drug kingpin Frank White moves to regains control of his criminal empire. This character-driven crime drama focuses on the enigmatic, paradoxical personality of White, who ruthlessly quashes competition with one hand while giving his profits into a hospital for the poor with the other.

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Critic Reviews for King of New York

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

  • Complementing Walken's bravura turn are equally flamboyant performances by David Caruso as the young Irish cop out to destroy Walken, and Larry Fishburne as Walken's slightly crazy aide-de-camp.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A film which, despite splendid location work, lurches sloppily and messily from kill to kill, orgy to orgy, coke to crack, cliché to cliché.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • [Ferrara] works unapologetically in B-movie territory, but does it with A-movie style.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/4
  • Walken is one of the few undeniably charismatic male villains of recent years; he can generate a snakelike charm that makes his worst characters the most memorable, and here he operates on pure style.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • A hepped-up film about drugs that plays as if the filmmakers themselves kept a healthy supply of the stuff at hand.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • King of New York's storyline is pretty one-note, but there's an energy and aura of fear lingering in every gritty composition.

    Sep 26, 2009 | Rating: 58/100 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for King of New York

  • Feb 02, 2015
    Helped set the stage for the transition of 80's action flicks to 90's ones. An entertaining and involved piece, but one that doesn't really merit a second or third viewing.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2013
    Waltz plays the drug king of New York fresh out of prison. His character, Frank white, seems cool and possessive. Early on he gets ADHD hyper and this is the side of him I don't like. I'd prefer the film if he had an invincible type feel. This is a pre-Tarantino, Tarantino film. The film is completely gritty, and purely based off style. The true material is just non existent. The criminals in the film are shown from a better perspective than the cops (except Roy). This isn't a negative, but this not so subtly gets you rooting for the mafia men-rather than the men in uniform. The visuals in the "I'm Black" club scene were top notch, and the film always had up beat color visuals. If more time was invested in the script this could be a very good film, but as is, mediocre.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 2013
    Ferrara creates one of the better gangland films to come out in recent years. The film is full of style and interesting characters. The cast is full of young actors who would eventually become well regarded stars. They add depth to the film which is already top heavy from Christopher walken in quite possibly he's best role.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2013
    Frank White: From now on, nothing goes down unless I'm involved. No blackjack, no dope deals, no nothing. A nickel bag gets sold in the park, I want in. You guys got fat while everybody starved on the street. Now it's my turn. "Not everyone who runs a city is elected." King of New York is a well made and damn good, crime film. The movie is extremely violent, and filled with murder, drugs, and sex. It creates a menacing and good villain in Frank White, played brilliantly by Christopher Walken, who is the perfect King of New York. The movie is also helped by a good supporting cast including Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes.  Frank White is released from prison and doesn't take long in getting back to work. His work just so happens to be that of a drug lord. Not long after being released, a lot of his competition is already disappearing and three cops who know him very well are all over him. But for them it's not to easy to take down someone who basically owns the city and has all the wealth he needs to get his way out of trouble. Abel Ferrera has been pretty hit or miss for me, but there's no denying his eye for a good shot and the fact that he can always put the right actor in the right character. Here he uses Christopher Walken perfectly and Walken delivers with a brilliant performance. The role of a drug lord has been played a million times and yet Walken is able to bring something truly unique to a pretty common character. All in all, King of New York is a solid crime drama, thriller. It's well worth a look if you haven't seen it and it's probably the best Abel Ferrera film that I have seen to this point. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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