Carlito’s Way Release Date: 1 December 2005 (Iceland) Genre: Action | Crime | Drama Director(s): Michael Scott Bregman (Table One) Writer(s): Michael Scott Bregman (Table One) Starring: Jay Hernandez, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Luis Guzmán When I originally saw that Carlito’s Way was getting itself a prequel, I cringed. Not because the film holds a […]

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Carlito’s Way
Release Date: 1 December 2005 (Iceland)
Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
Director(s): Michael Scott Bregman (Table One)
Writer(s): Michael Scott Bregman (Table One)
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Luis Guzmán

When I originally saw that Carlito’s Way was getting itself a prequel, I cringed. Not because the film holds a special place in my heart and the idea of a prequel offended me, but because of all the titles to be exploited by the DTV market, the choosing of Carlito’s Way doesn’t make much sense. After all, in the scope of Al Pacino’s career, Carlito’s Way is considered a second rate Scarface. So why make a prequel to Carlito’s Way?

Director Michael Scot Bregman is the son of Martin Bregman, the producer of Carlito’s Way. Ohhh, I get it.

I don’t usually like mob and/or gangster movies. To be successful in my mind, a film of this kind has to have some witty dialogue or a charismatic lead that ropes me in. Al Pacino had that quality. Jay Hernandez, who starred in the box office bomb Crazy/Beautiful before being relegated to supporting roles in films like Torque, is no Al Pacino. The script for Rise to Power isn’t exactly something that’s going to help an underwhelming actor shine either. Mario Van Peebles, a personal favorite of mine who has recently lifted himself up from the depths of DTV hell, barely pulls anything out this.

Rise to Power is less of a prequel and more of an alternate situation for the Carlito Brigante character to be in. A true prequel to Carlito’s Way would obviously feature Carlito before and during his early prison sentence. Rise to Power pretty much starts where the real prequel would end, with Carlito (Hernandez), Earl (Peebles), and a vapid Italian getting out of jail with the intention of getting into the fledgling heroin business. This is the late 60s after all, and the borough of Harlem has yet to be hit by the storm. While Carlito begins a relationship with a young woman based on a lie, the trio draws the ire of an Italian businessman and another drug lord (Combs).

Rise to Power has no emotion, suspense, or drama to it. It’s as flat as the Earth in the fifteenth century. It goes all over the place, features an unneeded narration, and has ‘theatrical reject’ stamped right along its taint.
DVD: Barebones.

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Carlito’s Way Rise to Power, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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