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The Forgotten Christopher Walken Crime Film You Can Find On Amazon

Christopher Walken is so many things: an accomplished dancer, an honest-to-God former lion trainer, and thanks to a steamy lip lock with Michelle Pfeiffer in the third act of "Batman Returns," the most monumental snub in the history of the MTV awards' "Best Kiss" category. He's a compelling performer, to the point that the scene in "The Prophecy 3" where he orders breakfast for two straight minutes almost makes the movie worth watching. He turned Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" music video into the only 225 perfect seconds of film on the internet and he is, unavoidably, about 60% of the reason that your cousin is still shoehorning "more cowbell" into conversations.

When you get as completely bizarre as Walken has, stuff can fall through the cracks. Case in point: "King of New York," the largely forgotten box office flop that had critics feeling a lot of feelings when it debuted in 1990. More on that in a moment.

"King of New York" came to audiences courtesy of Abel Ferrara, the same guy who helmed the decidedly difficult cult classic "Bad Lieutenant" a couple of years later, and was written by frequent Ferrara collaborator NIcholas St. John. As opening hooks go, the film is tough to beat: Drug kingpin Frank White (Walken) is released into the streets of New York City after years behind bars. Re-establishing yourself in the workforce after a lengthy absence is usually difficult, but it just so happens that around this time, Frank's competition starts dying violently, with newspaper stories about his return left on their heavily perforated bodies.

Christopher Walken out-Walkens himself

There's a lot to love about "King of New York." Three decades later, the cast is beyond iconic. Alongside Walken, the film features performances from Laurence Fishburne, Wesley Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito, Steve Buscemi, and the world's quippiest sunglass dispenser, David Caruso. From a contemporary perspective, it's bonkers that this movie only made back half its budget at the box office.

Then again, critics seemed perplexed — bamboozled, even — by "King of New York." The New York Times gave the movie four stars, praising Abel Ferrara for his ability to work "unapologetically in B-movie territory ... with A-movie style." Variety, equal parts impressed and in possession of a thesaurus, called the film "a balletic orgy of bloodletting." On the other side of the aisle, The Washington Post decried it as "a hepped-up film about drugs that plays as if the filmmakers themselves kept a healthy supply of the stuff at hand" and referred to the whole endeavor as "'Miami Vice' but without Crockett and Tubbs." 

Art is subjective. If you feel like picking a camp for yourself, you can check out "King of New York" on Amazon Prime right this minute.