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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'King of New York': A Searing and Kinetic Early-90's Crime Thriller

Movie poster for the film King of New York starring Christopher Walken, David Caruso and Laurence Fishburne

“King of New York” (1990) is a volatile, kinetic crime thriller starring Christopher Walken as Frank White, a New York-based crime lord who is released from prison as the story begins.

Intent on building a full-on drug empire, Frank re-establishes his authority by taking down his rival Columbian and Italian factions and stealing theirs caches of cocaine and money, while building an army of street hooligans willing to operate at his behest.

Frank is soon targeted by the NYPD as a cadre of rogue officers (including David Caruso and Wesley Snipes) lay siege on his operations, infiltrating his base and waging war on his entire enterprise.

Shifting perspective intermittently between the equally relentless police and criminal units, “King of the New York” delivers an edgy and aggressive crime thriller marked by vengeance and tragedy.

One of the finer efforts from director Abel Ferrara and writer Nicholas St. John, “King of New York” is quintessential early-90’s New York cinema in all of it’s dark, nihilistic glory. An oft-overlooked masterpiece worthy of rediscovery.


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