New Jack City: Two-Disc Special Edition (1991)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Mario Van Peebles (Director/Co-Star)
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-The Road To New Jack City
Featurette-NJC: A Hip-Hop Classic
Featurette-Harlem World: A Walk Inside
Music Video-3
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 96:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (70:06)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Mario Van Peebles
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Wesley Snipes
Ice-T
Allen Payne
Chris Rock
Mario Van Peebles
Michael Michele
Bill Nunn
Russell Wong
Bill Cobbs
Christopher Williams
Judd Nelson
Vanessa Williams
Tracy Camilla Johns
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Bernard Belle
Joseph Brim
Stanley Brown


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Dutch
French
Icelandic
Italian
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    “So little Johnny, while Mum’s away, it’s just us two and a couple of pizzas. What would you like to do tonight?”

    “I don’t know Dad. Should we watch a movie?”

    “Sure. What kind of movie would you like to watch?”

    “Hmmm. I don’t know. There’s so much to choose from these days. How about a gangster film?”

    “Yeah? What type of gangster film?”

    “Jeez. Um, maybe a black gangster film? You know? Like set in the ‘Hood or Harlem something.”

    “Sounds good.”

    “Oh, no. I don’t want a good gangster film, Dad. I want some crappy film made on the cusp of the nineties – like 91 or 92 or something. Something with a bunch of rappers trying to turn into movie stars, you know?”

    “Like DMX?”

    “No, Dad. I said cusp of the nineties, not cusp of the millennium.”

    “So you mean like Ice T? In his pre-Law & Order SVU days?”

    “Yeah! And everybody has to have really bad hair. I mean, flattop Afros with words carved into them and channels and heaps of dredds and stuff.”

    “Well if we’re going bad eighties hair we need bad eighties clothes, too right?”

    “Now you’re on the right track. Think bright blue suits and loose fitting red suits that look like they were made out of curtains. And big gold rings in the shape of dollar signs, and lots and lots of gold chains.”

    “Excellent.”

    “I want a film about a bunch of black gangsters that dress really badly and take over an apartment block and use it as a sophisticated computerised drug dealing operation with lots of floppy drives and blue lights and stuff. And the guy who runs the operation has to call it some rapper type name, you know?”

    “Like the CMB?”

    “Cool.”

    “So, ICE T, he’s got to be like some rapper drug dealer?”

    “No, no. ICE T has to be this tough cop, you know, who’s always sermonising. And his Mum got killed by some unknown whacked out drug dealer guy who – get this – turns out to be the guy who runs the CMB. Only the guy who runs the CMB has to be some crazy psycho deranged guy—”

    “Played by Wesley Snipes?”

    “—Yeah! Played by Wesley Snipes! And there has to be a scene in there where he’s watching the final part of Al Pacino’s version of Scarface, right? And he’s like half naked with some chicks, and one of those chicks has to appear in like the second last scene of this movie, out of nowhere and say something really cool like ‘I’ll testify, even if it costs me my life, I’ll testify’.”

    “That is really cool.”

    “Yeah, I know. And there’s got to be this old Grandpa dude who’s like the word of neighbourhood wisdom that nobody’s listening to. And some Italian mobsters who are like so well dressed but like the Wesley Snipes character just can’t get along with them, because, you know, they’re Italian.”

    “Wow, Johnny. That sounds like some wicked blaxploitation gangster movie. I think I’ve got just the thing. Especially if you like lots of really, really bad songs with the title words of the movie in them.”

    “Really? So what’s the film, Dad?”

    “The mother of all black gangster films – the one, the only New Jack City.”

    “Word, Dad.”

    “Word, little Johnny.”

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, mastered from a new high definition transfer, this is close to its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. When upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz, this looks extremely good. Shame that the same care was not taken for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace given they are both about on par. No, I take that back. This film is better than that. But only just. And only because this film doesn’t have a little boy running around shouting “Yippie!” at every opportunity with about as much emotion as a cardboard box. No, sorry – the cardboard box has more emotion. But enough of my rant.

    Colour saturation, shadow detail and graininess are excellent in this transfer. For a film this old, it’s surprising that they managed to get a picture this good, particularly given how bad some more recent fare have been.

    There is not much in the way of film-to-video transfer artefacts, but there are a number of film artefacts, including a couple of barely concealed cigarette burns. Still, bearing in mind this movie is 15 years old, it’s not doing so badly.

    There are many subtitles available (see the list above). I watched the subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired only. They are quite accurate. I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.

    The dual layer pause is at 70:05 in the middle of a scene. It is noticeable but not really disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and French and Italian in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround.

    The audio track is very good, and has no real faults. The bad dialogue and the appalling dialogue come through loud and clear.

    The front surrounds are well used and the rear surrounds get some use, although only really come to life with the score. Again, not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse, given how bad some of this music is.

    The subwoofer gets some use in the few gunfights that there are.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    The main menu on all the discs is presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. The submenus are static and silent.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – Mario van Peebles (Director and Co-Star)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a reasonably interesting commentary, and explains some choices behind the making of the film and various technical aspects. Some decent anecdotes, but not a fantastic commentary.

Theatrical Trailer (1:50)

    Presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Disc 2

Featurette – “The Road To New Jack City” (28:10)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a retrospective documentary that is almost better than the film.

Featurette – “NJC: A Hip Hop Classic” (20:18)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is another retrospective documentary that talks about the musical influences in the film and the influence of hip-hop generally. Again, a documentary that is more interesting than the film.

Featurette – “Harlem World: A Look Inside” (10:17)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a documentary that looks at Harlem City in New York City. This is possibly the most interesting thing on these two discs.

Music Videos

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Content-wise, the R1 and R4 releases appear to be identical. I don’t have a copy for direct video comparison, but I haven’t seen anything on the Internet that suggests it is a bad transfer. Buy whichever is cheapest ... or rent it.

Summary

    Mario Van Peeble’s New Jack City has not dated well. In fact, it has dated atrociously. An influential film in its time, and worthy of a look for cinema students, its problem is that it has been done better, and then done to death. Do yourself a favour and watch John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood or Spike Lee’s Clockers instead. While not quite in the same genre, they have the same message and are far more engaging films. In fact, do yourself a real favour and watch the best black drug crime series ever made – The Wire. It may be 13 hours long, but it takes that long to really understand the drug problem and the criminals on either side.

    Fans of the film will be extremely pleased to know that this DVD transfer is excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

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