Saturday, October 31, 2009

Carlito's Way: Rise to Power

Released: 2005

Reviewed: 10.27.09
Star rating: 3 out of 5

Jay Hernandez (Carlito), Mario Van Peebles (Earl), Luis Guzman (Nacho), Sean Combs (Nicky), Michael Kelly (Rocco), Jaclyn DeSantis (Leticia), Burt Young (Artie), Giancarlo Esposito (Jeff), Mtume Gant (Reggie).

In this prequel to Carlito's Way we see how Carlito embraces the world of organized crime and makes a name for himself. As his power grows, so do the threats to that power. Although he is on his way to lead the New York underworld it may takes less than he thinks to threaten his plans.

I mistakenly watched Carlito's Way before I knew this film had existed so I saw them out of order. Although I hate comparing films I just can't help it here. Billed as a prequel to Carlito's Way this one did explain to some extent how Carlito gained his power. It also ended in such a way that Carlito couldn't have continued and did the things found in Carlito's Way. It was as if they started off on the right path and then forgot about the second film and just made up the rest of the story. I just can't see how this is a prequel. Rating the film by itself it is a decent mobster flick that was somewhat enjoyable.

Hernandez did a decent job but I was more impressed by Van Peebles and Combs who both have much more depth than I had given them credit for having. Guzman delivered as usual and the rest of the supporting cast did a nice job. There wasn't a lot of energy here, but there was some.

Camera work, sets, and background were all nicely done and the film apparently had a reasonable budget. Dialogue and sound were also good, as were effects and action sequences.

Overall a decent mob flick but a failure as a prequel. Plenty of violence, foul language, drugs, and some sexual content but older teens and above should be fine with this one.

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