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Carlito's Way: Rise To Power
DVD disk
11.01.2005 By: Jason Coleman
Carlito's Way: Rise To Power order
Director:
Michael Bregman

Actors:
Jay Hernandez
Mario Van Peebles
Sean Combs

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
It’s a prequel to CARLITO’S WAY, showing the early years of up and coming gangster Carlito Brigante. It’s all about guns, money, drugs and power, with a young and cocky Carlito right in the middle.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
It would be easy to compare this prequel to the original CARLITO’S WAY. To say that Jay Hernandez is no Al Pacino, to say that Director Michael Bregman is no Brian DePalma, it would be very easy. (Especially since the box itself proudly touts “From the Producer of SCARFACE and CARLITO’S WAY”!) But let’s instead focus on CARLITO’S WAY: RISE TO POWER as a film unto itself, without being in the shadow of a great predecessor. Does it still fail to deliver as just a film? Absolutely. First off, Director Bregman has zero flair and style as a filmmaker, giving this movie a student film quality. The scenes feel staged, the shots are long and drawn out, and the actors look like they’re, well, acting. The script, adapted from the book by Bregman, tries to appear complex, but just comes off looking dense. The story plays out every cliché in the book – from the wise and well spoken mentor, to the old and angry Italian wiseguy who doesn’t like young punks, they’re all here.

To blame the actors for this travesty is almost unfair, because a lot of them have done previous work that has been magnificent. I really feel it’s got to be the fault of Bregman because everyone here is universally awful. He even casts great roly-poly character actor Luis Guzman as a hitman who is known for being deadly, quick, and skillful, the best in the business. (Does anyone actually buy this?) Worst actor moment – a monologue by Sean “Don’t call me Puffy” Combs, where the actor actually looks directly into the camera for a portion of it! It’s acting 101 and both Combs and Bregman (not to mention his editor!) get an F. (Did I mention that the scene takes place in a bar, where Combs shoots a man to death, then stays and has a drink, talking to the patrons? Wow.) You know that feeling you get when you do something bad and you can’t change it? That’s what the executive at Universal who greenlit this film must have felt after he saw the finished project. Heed, sometimes it’s best to leave things well enough alone. (And Michael Bregman is no Brian DePalma!)
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes (7:04): A collection of bits and pieces from the cutting room floor, although this didn’t look much worse then what was in the film. Highlights - lots of extra bad Combs material and a staged early childhood sequence. (which I can tell because it’s in black and white!)

Gag Reel (6:06): Only thing this one has to offer is some funny Guzman inprov bits, but the rest of this isn’t funny. It’s nice to see that someone had fun; it’s just too bad it’s not us.

Got Your Back: Carlito’s Brothers In Crime (5:36): In this one, cast members try to explain the story. (Guys, it’s not that complex!) Also, this one has a major spoiler right in the middle of it, so if you haven’t seen the film, watching this may ruin it for you. Or, it may not.

Bringing The ‘Hood To Life (7:57): We see how much work went into creating the era and this crew certainly did a lot of work. They really deserved better.

Making-of Documentary (11:42): The opening of this is like a trailer and I must say, it made the damn movie look great! Whoever edited this thing should have edited the film - maybe it would have been a great flick after all! Recipe: cast, crew and a pinch of ass kissing!

Set Tour With “Earl” (3:38): Van Peebles takes us on a tour (not really, just a street shoot!) of a day of shooting. Not very informative, funny or interesting, and uses pieces from the previous featurettes. Filler, filler, filler.

Plus, for those of you who need more, there is a Trailer. ( Of just this film, of course!)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The original CARLITO’S WAY was a well made, well acted, and well done piece of cinema. CARLITO’S WAY: RISE TO POWER is like the bastard child of that film, maybe if it were properly loved and taken care of, it could have grown up to be something special.

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