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"Idolator! Your soul is required in Hell!"
An old man, from the final scene of the film.
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New Jack City is a 1991 neo-noir crime thriller film starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Judd Nelson and Chris Rock. It also co-starred and was directed by Mario Van Peebles.

Snipes plays Nino Brown, a rising crime lord and drug dealer in New York City, who takes control of an apartment complex and capitalizes on the crack epidemic. But he is opposed by undercover cop Scotty (Ice-T), whose mother he killed back in the day. And now he vows to stop Nino and the deadly CMB at all costs.

Rumors of a straight-to-video sequel have popped up, but has not been officially confirmed as of yet.

Not to be confused with an episode of Father Ted.


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This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The '80s: Where the first act is set before leaving it in The '90s.
  • Accuse the Witness: Nino accuses one of his lieutenants of being the real head of the Cash Money Brothers and it works, despite every piece of evidence and testimony that proves otherwise.
  • Arc Words: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
  • Badass Boast: Nino's iconic "Sit your five dollar ass down before I make change!"
  • Bad Boss: Nino has no problem with betraying, physically assaulting or even killing the people who work for him. During the trial sequence, he avoids more severe charges by lying and claiming that Kareem was the true mastermind behind the operation.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Nino is both verbally and physically abusive to Selina, and ends up tossing her against a desk and pouring champagne on her after she calls him a murderer.
    Nino: Cancel that bitch. I'll buy another one.
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  • The Big Rotten Apple: One of the later examples. The opening scene plays snippets from various news reports that mention some of the many problems facing the city in The '80s, such as rising economic inequality, loss of jobs and an increase in violent gang activity. It's these precise conditions that allow Nino's scheme and the broader crack epidemic to happen in the first place.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nino is gunned down and the CMB is completely eradicated, but the old man who shot him is promptly arrested and presumably jailed for the rest of his life. And even though the city's most notorious crack manufacturer is now dead, it's only a matter of time before someone else will rise and conquer.
  • Blatant Lies: When Nino claimed Kareem Akbar, "the educated brother from the bank" whom he stabbed in the hand and nearly strangled earlier in the film, was the real head of the CMB.
  • Book-Ends: The opening shot slowly zooms in on the famous Manhattan skyline in New York, and ends with credits scrolling up while the camera slowly pulls away from the city. Both shots also have the movie's Theme Song playing.
  • Broken Aesop: Scotty is ultimately dissuaded from killing Nino and convinced to let the system do its job... only for Nino to get a Karma Houdini verdict, leading to the Chekhov's Gunman old man committing a Vigilante Execution anyway.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Nino makes with Gee Money's mistress when she offers herself to him. When Gee Money later voices his anger at Nino for taking everything for himself, Nino dismisses the girl as a skank and says that Gee means infinitely more to him.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Nino uses a little girl as a meatshield when the Mafia tries to assassinate him at a party.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted; Nino had no idea the middle-aged woman he killed happened to be Scotty's mom, but he absolutely remembers the actual incident and recounts it to Scotty, who is undercover at the time, as it was the first time he killed someone—he was told to kill a random person to prove his loyalty to his new gang. We don't actually find out until the very end of the movie that Scotty was after Nino for this, and Nino doesn't deny remembering the incident because Scotty is beating the crap out of him as he tells him this.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The old man no one took seriously at first ends up being Nino Brown's killer in the final scene.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Scotty finally gets his hands on Nino, he beats the shit out of him in broad daylight without Nino putting up much of a fight.
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: As done by The Duh-Duh-Duh Man as he dies.
  • Dirty Coward: Nino attempts to use a little girl as a meat shield during a shootout. Thankfully, she survives unharmed.
  • Hi, Mom!: Nino Brown, who's just been acquitted of drug trafficking and several murders in exchange for his co-operation with the authorities, smugly uses the phrase in front of the cameras while he's boasting to the press that he thinks the American justice system is the finest in the world.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Nino Brown relates a tale from his youth; his gang initiation involved killing someone, but it couldn't be a rival gang member. He ends up shooting a schoolteacher on the street in broad daylight. Unfortunately for Nino, the person he relates this tale to is undercover cop Scotty, the schoolteacher's son.
  • Impaled Palm: Nino stabs Kareem in the hand with a cane sword and begins to strangle him with a chain.
    I never liked you anyway! Pretty motherfucker!
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Right after Scotty agrees to join the team, apropos of nothing, Peretti shoots a smiley-face in the wall of Scotty's apartment.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted. Nino manages to get off with a light sentence, but is shot by the old man whose house he had stolen.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Nino gets his pretty fast — he doesn't even make it out of the courthouse.
  • Karmic Death: Nino gets shot to death, just like he shot many innocent people.
  • Kick the Dog: The CMB forcing the residents of the apartment out of their homes so they could use it as their base of operations.
  • Large Ham: Pookie, Nino, and Scotty.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-universe, Nino is a noted fan of Scarface, watching Tony Montana's shootout at the end of the movie multiple times and quoting the "The world is yours line" as an inspirational motto.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Implied to be the motivation behind Gee Money's betrayal of Nino. They were supposed to be partners but the latter treated the former more like a sidekick, taking everything for himself.
    • This is the main motivation behind Selina agreeing to testify against Nino at the end.
  • Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters: Invoked by Nino Brown and his Cash Money Brothers drug crew, who make a token effort to provide relief to the poor in the form of a field kitchen to win the trust of the people. In reality, they ruthlessly took over one of the projects to set up their drug labs by forcing out all the previous residents and just make things worse by peddling their product to the unfortunate.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Nino is ultimately killed by a seemingly random old man who has been railing against Nino's drug operations throughout the entire movie.
  • Not So Different After Pookie's death, Peretti claims that he saw a lot of himself in the youth, admitting that he too was a drug addict when he was younger.
    Peretti: Do you remember when you said I didn't care? When what the hell was I doing at Pookie's funeral anyway? Remember? I used to be Pookie.
    Scotty: How the hell you used to be Pookie?
    Peretti: I was poor white trash Pookie.
  • Nothing Personal: When undercover cop Scotty Appleton and drug kingpin Nino Brown are hanging out one night, Nino confesses that he killed an innocent schoolteacher as part of an initiation into a gang. Scotty asked Nino if the killing was business or personal. Nino made it clear that all his killings are business, never personal. The schoolteacher was Scotty Appleton's mother, and Scotty nearly kills Nino during the climax, making it clear that killing his mother was personal.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: That is definitely not Chris Rock on the bicycle during the bike chase early on.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Benny "Pookie" Robinson.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "IDOLATOR! YOUR SOUL IS REQUIRED IN HELL!"
  • Railing Kill: Nino, after taking a direct shot to the heart, slumps over the balcony from about the 4th or 5th story of a courthouse.
  • Salt and Pepper: Scotty and Peretti.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!:
    • The charismatic drug lord Nino Brown gave such a speech to the old military veteran, after the veteran tries to reason with Nino that he's destroying his own community and hurting his own people selling drugs. Nino's response:
    Nino Brown: Look at you... in a few years they'll be marking your grave. Me? I'll be right here. What can you offer them? Another "I have a dream" speech? Some of that same shit you ripping off to me? Look where we at. Not a pot to piss in, nor a window to throw it out of. You's the fool, old man.
    • Nino Brown continued to joke about the war veteran later that night. But the old man would get the last laugh.
  • Smug Snake: Nino's sliminess reaches its epitome near the end when he makes a deal with the prosecution for a reduced sentence. He gloats to the cop who tried to get him convicted and whose mother he killed years ago to come work for him when he's back on the streets, and praises the American justice system to the press. He is almost immediately publicly killed vigilante-style by an old man whose life he destroyed earlier in the film.
  • Spanner in the Works: Nino Brown is able to fast-talk his way out of serious prison time, only to get killed by an old war veteran he didn't take seriously earlier.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Subverted when the hero cop chases a young criminal through an extended Chase Scene and the cop never draws his gun. However, when the crook suddenly draws a gun, that is when the cop draws his own and shoots him down.
  • Verbal Tic: Duh-Duh Man stutters constantly.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Nino and the CMB are based on Boston drug lord Darryl Whiting and his crew. Nino's last-second outburst in court was directly lifted from Whiting's trial. The whole Carter House premise was inspired by the Chambers Brothers of Detroit.
  • Vigilante Execution: Druglord Nino Brown walks arrogantly out of the courtroom in front of the police protagonists, confident he will not serve a sentence commensurate with his crimes. The old man who was hounding Brown throughout the film for destroying his neighborhood with his drug trade shoots him dead in the courthouse foyer.
  • Villainous Friendship: Nino has a friendship with Gee Money that doesn't seem to be faked. When they establish their criminal empire, Nino tells Gee that they've finally made it and that they have to look out for each other. Near the end he expresses his friendship with Gee as more important to him than all the money and women he has gotten, but they just can't go back to the way they were after Gee betrays Nino by allowing an undercover cop to infiltrate CMB and also making a deal with said cop behind Nino's back. Nino struggles to kill Gee as tears roll down his face.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Nino tries to gain the people's support by handing out free meals to the poor and money to the children. The cops Scotty and Peretti openly call his Robin Hood act out as crap, as does an old man whose grandson is among those children. At the same time, Nino has forced entire families out of their homes to build his drug factory and is preying on the poor to sell his drugs. Deconstructed as Nino's empire starts to fall apart, and especially while Scotty beats him to the cheers and encouragement of a crowd, and it's made clear that the people of the neighborhood despise Nino.
  • You Have Failed Me: After the police infiltrate the drug operation and the CMB are forced to destroy their production plant when they capture a police informant, Nino threatens his gang with killing them if they fail him again, stabbing one through the hand to make his point.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Despite being in a relationship with Selina, Nino has no qualms over sleeping with other women.
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