New Jack City (1990)

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Mario Van Peebles directs Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and himself in this fictionalised look at the rise of crack in New York. 

This major studio release was considered hard hitting on release. Boyz N the Hood remains powerful. Jungle Fever remains powerful. Menace II Society remains powerful. These days this looks and feels as cartoonish as Dick Tracy. All primary coloured suits and askew angles. The moments of social commentary are almost as hammy as Chris Rock’s desperate on/off snitching crackhead. The soundtrack is smooth, Wesley has larks in his breakthrough wannabe Scarface role and it sure is quotable. But none of that matters when it definitely, definitely looks like Judd Nelson’s cop on the edge has blacked up his face to raid a warehouse, only for one of his fellow actors to lick a napkin and do a half assed job of wiping it off him some point off camera. If you ever wondered what a spoof of The Wire would look like, look no further.

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