King of New York

King of New York is an explosive and ludicrous B movie about a contemporary mobster Robin Hood, Frank White (Christopher Walken), who reigns over a gang of black homeboy criminals. He assembles them into a drug-dealing task force, starts knocking off his rivals, and then uses his influence — and dope profits — to try to save a hospital in the South Bronx. The notion of a psychopathic do-gooder might have seemed outrageous and funny if the movie didn’t treat it utterly straight (and if Frank didn’t keep plenty of blood money for himself). But director Abel Ferrara stages the violence in electrifying spasms, and Walken, with his undead complexion, his jittery line readings, and his stare of cold rage, mesmerizes the camera. B-

King of New York
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