The gangster Nino has a gang who call themselves Cash Money Brothers. They get into the crack business and not before long they make a million dollars every week. A cop, Scotty, is after them. He tries to get into the gang by letting an ex-drug addict infiltrate the gang, but the attempt fails miserably. The only thing that remains is that Scotty himself becomes a drug pusher.

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Back in the early 1990's when New Jack City came out, I never wanted to see it. Sure, it was a big movie. Everyone seemed to have seen it and loved it. I just never thought there was anything in the movie for me. I hated the music, didn't understand the culture, and hated watching violence. There was nothing about the movie which appealed to me. Since that time, however, I have watched become more appreciative of the world around me. I experienced a lot more, and have come to grips with the virtues and the ills of the world. Through more adult eyes, I finally decided to give this movie a chance. I was staying at a friend's house, and he needed to go out for a little while. I was bored out of my mind, and the man had no internet access and no cable. What else could I do but slip a DVD in. If he hadn't gone out, I still wouldn't know what I was missing. New Jack City is a take on the story of Scarface. Wesley Snipes plays a common street thug. He's your average, run of the mill, relatively harmless, corner dealer. However, Snipes has big ambitions and a new product to push. He is on the forefront of the crack revolution. Like Tony Montana from Scarface, you see Snipes rise in power from a street thug to a drug king-pin. Snipes' performance is matched only by its other star, Ice-T. T plays a cop who will do anything to get his man. To enforce the law, T puts himself above all laws, and really goes over the edge. We see this from the very beginning of the movie, when he shoots a suspect. Little does he know that this move will end up being the one which brings him down in the end. So, like in Scarface, we see Snipes' character gaining power, and like in Deep Cover, we see Ice-T as the cop who tries to get in with the drug dealers he is trying to bring down. It is somewhat predictable, but none the less entertaining. One of the strengths and weaknesses of this movie is its message. This movie does not over-glamorize the drug scene. Sure, there is plenty of cash, nice suits, and all the other things you expect when a dealer makes it big. However, there is the constant message throughout the movie that the drug life is not the way to go. The movie opens with statistics of murder rates, and numbers of crack babies being born in New York City. This message is followed through by a hard-hitting scene where some children are preaching anti-drug slogans. As Ice-T watches, the children switch from their anti-drug slogans to playing on a playground filled with empty crack vials. This is one of the best scenes in the movie. The use of children to bring home an anti-drug message is consistent throughout the movie. The children are witness to many of the harshest parts of drug life. At one point, a neighborhood man steps in to make Snipes' character and the whole clique realize that he is killing his own people, and bringing down a generation of young folks. His message, as well as this whole scene sort of hit you over the head. The message is there anyway. I am not sure it needed to be reiterated in so many scenes. After a while, the message got so over-used, it became funny. By this point, my friend was back home and watching the movie with me. We both were laughing out loud as scene after scene reiterated the same message. At the end of the movie a little editorial pops up on the screen for one last clobbering. It is a shame, but at the end of a really good movie, I was left laughing and singing "God Bless America." They really could have been less preachy. The movie is also filled with a lot of violence. Most of the violence is gun-related. There is probably more blood spilled in this movie than there was even in Scarface. In some parts of the movie it truly helps the plot, but sometimes it is just gratuitous. I am not sure where the line can be drawn, but the line is crossed at several times, and the movie suffers because of it. So the story wasn't new to me, the messages were made to hit you over the head, and the action was over the top. Why am I recommending this movie, anyway? It must be the acting. Snipes and T give outstanding performances. It is also a period piece. This movie was one of the first to cash in on hip-hop culture, and the crack epidemic. Also, there is something you just can't quite place your finger on in this movie. No matter how predictable and trite the movie got, I was still wrapped up in it. In some ways, this movie differed from Scarface and Deep Cover. In Scarface, you really began to side with Tony, the man who rose through the ranks like Snipes character did. In Deep Cover, you began to sympathize with undercover cop whose allegiances were blurred. In this movie, you never really feel sorry for anybody, except the old man who sees the problems and is willing to stand up for what he believes is right. The only problem is, it is easy to forget the old man exists throughout a lot of the movie. Also, he is the one whose messages clobbers the viewers over the head. If you haven't already seen this movie, you really should anyway. It is extremely dated, but still entertaining. The action scenes are well executed, and the acting is superb.

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