Sunday 15 November 2020

King of New York (1990)


Arrow Films continues to add to its catalogue of releases directed by Abel Ferrara with KING OF NEW YORK, which is coming out on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD. For those of you unfamiliar with the film and who attended this year's Grimmfest or October Frightfest and saw the Arrow trailer reel, this is the film that had the scene where someone bursts into a room announcing "Room service, motherf*ckers!"

Drug kingpin Frank White (Christopher Walken) gets released from prison and immediately sets about putting his gang back together, gaining new members, and asserting his dominance over the other drug lords who have taken his place during his absence. His ostensible reason for killing everyone is that he wants to make enough money to save a local hospital. Meanwhile the NYPD is in pursuit and keen to employ as much violence to deal with him and his gang as Frank routinely does with his own problems.

Boasting a fabulous cast of soon-to-be familiar faces including  Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, David Caruso and Wesley Snipes, Ferrara's film is a slick, beautifully shot, fashion-conscious 1990s gangster picture whose ultimate message is that all violence begets is more of the same. Regular composer Joe Delia delivers an effective synth score that at times feels classical in its aspirations and at others pounds along with the action. 

Arrow's disc is a 4K restoration with stereo and DTS-HD 5.1 sound options on both the UHD and Blu-ray discs. On the DVD it's stereo only. Extras include two audio commentaries, one with Ferrara which starts with a crash and the hiss of the opening of beer bottles before Mr Ferrara begins his sweary reminiscences, stating he is only doing the commentary because he has been paid $5000 in cash. The other is with producer Mary Kane, composer Joe Delia, casting director Randy Sabusawa and editor Anthony Redman and is more sober. There are also separate interviews with Ferrara and producer Augusto Caminito. There are also two Ferrara documentaries looking at his career. The first is an edition of the French TV show Cineastes de Notre Temps and the other is A Short Film About the Long Career of Abel Ferrara. You also get the usual image gallery, trailers and TV spots. The DVD is missing the French documentary and the Caminito interview. The first pressing comes with a collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the film from Brad Stevens (Ferrara's biographer) and Iain Sinclair. 

Abel Ferrara's KING OF NEW YORK is out from Arrow on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 16th November 2020

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