CRIMEWATCH: NEW JACK CITY
Mario Van Peebles’ 1991 crime classic NEW JACK CITY celebrates its 25th anniversary this year so we wanted to pay tribute with a look back at the film.
Set in New York City, the story focuses on Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) a ruthless criminal who leads the Cash Money Brothers street gang. Nino is clearly great at what he does but still needs something to take the crew to the next level. When his best friend G-Money (Allen Payne) introduces him to a new drug called “crack”, he realizes the amazing potential it holds to make them super rich. Soon Nino sets up a plan to overtake a Harlem apartment complex called The Carter. When the CMB bumrush the place and take control, it becomes a complete one stop crack shop where the drug is made and the junkies purchase their fixes. Nino and the CMB get rich very quick and make sure that noone will mess with their business but the Italian Mafia are quickly knocking on their door. Meanwhile the police are alerted to Nino’s drug dealing empire and begin looking for cops that can help take him down. Detective Stone (Mario Van Peebles) who’s assigned to the case sets his sights on Scotty Appleton (Ice-T) a tough as nails cop that knows the streets like the back of his hand. Stone must put some effort into persuading Scotty to accept the job and to complicate matters, he is going to be paired up with a partner, Nick Peretti (Judd Nelson), a motorcycle riding “biscuit head” that he really isn’t a fan of. As with many classic crimefighting teams, the two are yin and yang and don’t get along so well but their rebellious nature and fearless attitudes will be just the right mix to help get them into the underworld where danger is around every corner.
Like Tony Montana in Scarface, Nino’s own demons as well as flaws within the CMB begin to threaten his powerful grip on the city and with the cops and the mob on his back its only a matter of time before things start to crumble beneath his feet.
New Jack City remains a thrilling crime genre film that has held up really well and features some outstanding performances from Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and Judd Nelson as well as a comedian named Chris Rock (you might’ve seen him hosting the Oscars recently) who plays “Pookie” a crack addict Scotty helps to turn his life around and become an undercover informant in Nino’s drug dealing biz.
The film’s soundtrack is another main highlight and features some dope music from the early 90s by artists like GUY, Color Me Badd, Johnny Gill, Keith Sweat, Ice-T and Troop/Levert featuring Queen Latifah.