New Jack City


New Jack City

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 30


Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,297
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New Jack City Photos

Movie Info

The ruthless leader of a New York City drug syndicate battles to maintain his power and avoid imprisonment in this fast-moving action drama. While the film's heroes are Scotty (Ice-T) and Nick (Judd Nelson), a pair of tough, streetwise cops, the main focus is their target, drug lord Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes). A criminal businessman with no room for pity or emotion, the flashy but severe Brown has built an empire and transformed an abandoned Harlem apartment building into a well-defended fortress. He begins to consider himself invincible, but his lust for power and the unpredictable actions of a former client turned police informer threaten to bring about his potential downfall. First-time director Mario Van Peebles keeps the traditional plot moving at an appropriately rapid pace, with stylish action sequences and energetic performances. The film's violence was somewhat controversial on its initial release, especially after shooting incidents marred showings in several theaters. However, the film's moral message is clearly anti-drug and anti-crime, its main intent to provide a high-powered, modern take on the gangster movie. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Wesley Snipes
as Nino Brown
as Appleton
Judd Nelson
as Peretti
Chris Rock
as Pookie
Ben Gottlieb
as Prosecuting Attorney
Bill Nunn
as Duh Duh Duh Man
Bill Cobbs
as Old Man
Anthony DeSando
as Frankie Needles
Nick Ashford
as Reverend Oates
Thalmus Rasulala
as Police Commissioner
John Aprea
as Don Armeto
Fab 5 Freddy
as Master of Ceremonies
Phyllis Yvonne Stickney
as Prosecuting Attorney Hawkins
Clebert Ford
as Frazier
Laverne Hart
as Prom Queen
as Fat Smitty
Keith Sweat
as Singer at Wedding
Marcella Lowery
as Woman in Hallway
Ben Gotleib
as Prosecuting Attorney
Tiger Frederick
as Basketball Player
Rynel Johnson
as Basketball Player
Kelly Jo Minter
as Recovering Addict
Tina Lifford
as Recovering Addict
Paul Raczkowski
as Recovering Addict
Erik Kilpatrick
as Recovering Addict
Harold Baines
as Kid on Stoop
Sekou Campbell
as Kid on Stoop
Garvin Holder
as Kid on Stoop
Leo O'Brien
as Kid on Stoop
Bobby Stancil
as Kid on Stoop
Teddy Riley
as New Year's Eve Band Member
Aaron Hall
as New Year's Eve Band Member
Damien Hall
as New Year's Eve Band Member
Damion Hall
as New Year's Eve Band Member
Allen McNeil
as Singers - Spring - (Troop)
Gerald Levert
as Singers - Winter - (Levert)
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News & Interviews for New Jack City

Critic Reviews for New Jack City

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (7)

  • Though this often plays like a 70s cop show, it became a prototype for the bling-heavy gangsta melodramas of the 90s.

    Oct 30, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Filmmakers pull off a provocative, pulsating update on gangster pics with this action-laden epic about the rise and fall of an inner city crack dealer.

    Oct 30, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • It's a superior example of what used to be called blaxploitation, with Van Peebles piling on corruption and carnage for all he's worth.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The movie was advertised (no doubt wisely) as a slam-bang action adventure, but in fact it's a serious, smart film with an impact that lingers after the lights go up.

    Aug 5, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The film's use of once-imposing, now-crumbling New York architecture is particularly effective in underscoring the story with an air of widespread urban decay.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • Mario Van Peebles's drugland feature, a relentless, hold-on-to-your-hat experience, rarely lets up.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for New Jack City

  • Jul 15, 2012
    Given the drug-based cop drama/urban crime plot, the interracial partnership of the main cops, and the soundtrack being made up of contemporary urban (black) music, you could be forgiven for confusing this film with being a blaxploitation film. I mean, it IS directed by Mario Van Peebles, and there are some references to films from that genre, but surprisingly, it is not. Mostly because it's played straight, with only some humor, and no camp factor. It is definitely a b-movie, but a competently made high end one. Okay, so the main plot is pretty standard, with two mismatched cops having to team up to take down a powerful drug lord who has taken the streets prisoner with his ultra strong crack. It's still an enjoyable ride though, and it's quite stylish, with some actually pretty decent performances. Okay, so Judd Nelson is underused, but he's good when he's there. Wesley Snipes is fine, but I feel like he's just doing a VERY low-key and subtle take on Tony Montana. The stand outs are Ice-T who, still very much known for his anti-cop songs is great as a tough streetwise cop, and really gets his acting career off to a great start, though after this it wouldn't pick up again until he portrayed another cop on Law and Order: SVU. The other top prize goes to the outstanding Chris Rock, who gives an utterly memorable and gripping turn as an ill-fated ex-junkie turned informer. This is overall a really decent flick. It's ultimately nothing new, but very well played, and far better (both as a directorial debut and in general) than it could have been, so give it a shot.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2011
    If you ever want to start your own criminal empire, Learn the do's & dont's of the drug trade & become a drug kingpin then this is 1 movie you'll want to watch.I never realized how good of a movie New Jack City was until I watched it a couple days ago
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2011
    A classic 90's New York City-based crime drama. Great acting performances by Wesley Snipes as the villain, Ice-T as the protagonist, and Chris Rock as a supporting character. A good, cultural look into the drug empire that emerged in the early decade in big cities across North America. The well-placed Gothic scenery and dark atmosphere should also be mentioned.
    Suneel J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 03, 2010
    Slightly dated drama about the rise of the crack epidemic in New York in the 80's, with Wesley Snipes as the crime lord pushing the stuff and Ice-T as the maverick cop who's going to bring him down. Lots of action keeps it lively..
    Lesley N Super Reviewer

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