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King of New York [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 18
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Run time: 103 Mins.
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 25, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99; £24.99 (Steelbook)

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

In 1990 Director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) released the gritty, stylish, morally ambiguous crime drama King of New York on the same day as Goodfellas. Where the latter left no doubt who the criminals were and what their ultimate motivations were, King of New York was something entirely different. Using the visual and musical elements of the 1980s MTV generation, Ferrara took what could have been just a mundane exercise in drugs, sex, and violence and instead decided to blur the lines between right, moral and immoral. Christopher Walken (Kill the Irishman; Pulp Fiction) plays the film’s antihero, Frank White, a freshly released from prison drug kingpin who’s looking to wipe out his competition on the mean streets of New York. He doesn’t want to broaden his market, it’s just that he’s turned over a new leaf and dislikes their way of doing business. Plus he wants to increase his intake so he can use his drug money for philanthropy, namely a hospital in Harlem. His right hand man, a hip-hopper/drug dealer named Jimmy Jump (Laurence Fishburne; Contagion; Thurgood; The Matrix; The Tuskegee Airmen; Apocalypse Now) has been holding down the fort while he was in prison. Unfortunately for Frank, his money, power, influence, and newfound empathy don’t square well with crooked New York City detective Dennis Gilley (David Caruso) who endeavors to bring Frank down even if it means crossing the line into vigilanteism. As the web of lies, deceit and intrigue spins, there’s really no one who keeps their hands clean in King of New York, be it the cops, the politicians, or the drug dealers. While Walken puts in a steady, even keeled performance as the cold, calculating gangster with a heart, it’s Fishburne who is the standout as the colorful and energetic Jimmy Jump.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This is an absolutely fine rendering of King of New York from Arrow that looks clean with only a few specks of dirt and dust popping up on occasion. A thin layer of grain is visible throughout that offers a film-like veneer to the image, textures seem organic, flesh tones natural, and contrast is strong. Blacks are deep with little noise or extra graininess visible in darker areas.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

While there is a DTS-HD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mix available, it sounds very unnatural and unevenly balanced to my ears, almost like its reprocessed rather than remixed from the original stems. While occasionally it does offer very good results, like the subway scenes that surround you with the roar of the the New York underground subway, most of the time things are unnaturally panned way off to the sides or directly above or behind you and so on. I personally prefer the LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) mix, which has a more reserved stereo soundstage, but is far more natural and seems to have less apparent clipping in the dialogue as well.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

King of New York is given a strong set of supplements in this package. There are a couple of documentaries and a brand new interview with the director. All the material included in here is worth going through and is very informative.

The supplements:

  • Brand new interview with director Abel Ferrara (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:27:05)
  • Interview with producer Augusto Caminito (1.78:1; SD/PAL; 00:19:30)
  • Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 01:20:37)
  • A Short Film About the Long Career of Abel Ferrara (1.78:1; SD/PAL; 00:47:08) – A documentary on Abel Ferrara from the French TV show Cinéastes de Notres Temps
  • Teaser Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • UK Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • US Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Abel Ferrara Audio Commentary
  • Crew Commentary – with composer Joe Delia, producer Mary Kane, casting director Randy Sabusawa and editor Anthony Redman.
  • Booklet: collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Brad Stevens, author of Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision.
  • DVD – Standard DVD is also included.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

King of New York may have landed in theaters the same day as Goodfellas, but the two crime dramas are miles apart in tone. King of New York is a paragon of 80s style and New York grit. Its story explores the inner conflicts of the criminals more than it does the “good guys” (if you can find any here) making it a refreshing and unique take on the genre it represents.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0076W0BEK[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0076W0BAE[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0076W0BEK[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]


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