New York Times - 03/08/1991
"...[Van Peebles directs with] energy and flash....Played commandingly by [Snipes]..."
Rolling Stone - 08/25/2005
"NEW JACK CITY codified the hip-hop-gangsta image as much as any Ruthless Records release..."
Uncut - 02/01/2006
"[I]t helped kick-start rap's march into the mainstream, and ignite black Hollywood."
Mojo - 05/01/2006 4 stars out of 4 -- "Ice-T, Queen Latifah and 2 Live Crew provide the soundtrack....It's still extremely watchable."
A violent, kinetic gangster film with a strong anti-drug message, NEW JACK CITY is set in the mid-1980s during the height of the crack epidemic. Two street-wise undercover cops (Judd Nelson, Mario Van Peebles) go after Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes), a ruthless drug lord with extravagant taste in home furnishings. Desperate to bring down his multi-million dollar cocaine empire, they send Pookie (Chris Rock), a former street hustler and rehabilitated crack addict, into Nino's drug factory as an undercover spy. When the plan misfires, the cops must face Nino and his henchman in a bloody showdown.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Just as cool and topical today as when it first opened, New Jack City stars Wesley Snipes as the angel-of-death crack kingpin who holds a city in his grasp. Ice T, Judd Nelson and Mario Van Peebles (who also directs) play police officers who lay it all on the line. Chris Rock and Vanessa Williams co-star. A dynamic cutting-edge soundtrack includes tunes by Ice T, Queen Latifah, 2 Live Crew and more.
Rated BBFC 18 by the British Board of Film Censors.
Estimated budget of $8.5 million.
Shot on location in Harlem and the Bronx, New York, in Technicolor.
Began shooting April 16, 1990; completed shooting June 6, 1990. Released in North America March 8, 1991. Released on video August 7, 1991. Rereleased in New York City for a special run at the Joseph Papp Public Theater September 6-19, 1991.
Directorial debut for actor Mario Van Peebles, the son of actor and pioneering black director Melvin Van Peebles.
A $40 million dollar law suit was filed in New York Supreme Court in June 17, 1991 by Kurt Anthony against Wesley Snipes and the films producers. Anthony, an actor and screenwriter, claimed that Snipes lifted the idea for the film directly from a screenplay entitled "Innocent Blood" that Anthony had written and shown to Snipes.
Shown at Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah January 17-27, 1991. According to Variety, the film was presented as a "last-minute 'special preview' to stimulate dialog[ue] about drug issues before its March release." Also shown at Filmfest Munich (International Program) June 1991 and International Taormina Film Festival July 21-28, 1991.