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It's probably a fact I'm one of the few persons who prefers "Carlito's Way" over the other Brian De Palma directed crime epic "Scarface". In other words; I absolutely love the original "Carlito's Way" and I'm sad to say that this prequel is nowhere in the same league as the first and original movie!

Not just story, character or actor wise but more quality wise! This is a very simplistic, low budget production, that never even was played in cinemas. And rightfully so. This movie has no right to appear in any cinema and it even has absolutely no right to exist in the first place.

It's not like I completely hated this movie but it's simply being such a pointless on to watch. It has almost nothing to do with "Carlito's Way" at all and totally has a different tone and style to it. But also when you look at this movie as just a crime/thriller, it's being a terribly lacking one, that poorly got put together by both its cast and crew.

The cast is most obviously lacking. It consists just out of a bunch of guys, trying to act tough, which does not work out all, simply because they aren't very good actors. They are all terribly unconvincing in their roles, which also really takes away a lot of the tension for the movie and it's being hard to feel involved with anyone or anything in it.

It's not even being a very good 'origins' movie. So supposedly this movie is to show you how Carlito rose to power and gained control over the New York drugs world. But the movie doesn't show you how he slowly rises and gained more and more power and respect but it just simply shows how stuff just happens to him. He doesn't ever come across as a cunning and tough drug-lord, who isn't afraid to steal or kill.

They tried hard though. I mean, there is a scene in which out of nowhere Carlito suddenly shoots and kills a couple of guys. It really came out of the blue, which might sound like a positive thing, ala Michael Corleone in "The Godfather" but it really doesn't fit the character, the moment and just the overall style and story of the movie. It doesn't make sense for him to kill and he never does anything outrageous like that again, later on in this movie, which lets the scene feel all the more out of place and out of character for him. For the rest of the movie he actually comes across as a very nice guy, which probably is being another good indication how miscast Jay Hernandez is in his role. Throughout his career he has always played friendly guys, so why even consider him casting in a tough gangster role, that first got immortalized by Al Pacino, in 1993.

The movie also absolutely tells you nothing about the background or youth of Carlito. In that regard, this movie feels all the more pointless as a prequel. It doesn't tells you anything new, at least nothing interesting and you are obviously way better off watching the original "Carlito's Way" instead and forget about this movie.

But it's not just simply the casting or characters themselves that make this movie a poor and disappointing one. It also really could had used a more tight script, that offered some good moments and surprises and some better storytelling as well. This movie really doesn't get pleasantly told, which makes you feel glad when the movie is finally over.

Bad as a genre flick and even worse as a prequel to "Carlito's Way"!

4/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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