Reviewed byJSwallowX1Vote: 8/10/10
The producer of the masterpiece 1993 gangster film "Carlito's Way",Michael Bregman, brings the novel "Carlito's Way" by Edwin Torres tothe screen as a prequel to the events in the 1993 film. That film wasbased on the book's sequel "After Hours", but to avoid confusion withthe 1985 Martin Scorsese film, the title was changed to the title ofthe first book.
New York, sometime in the 1960's, Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez in asuperb performance) is a young Puerto Rican thug about to be releasedfrom prison. He became good friends with two men in prison, theAfrican-American Earl, and the Italian-American Rocco. When they arereleased, Rocco and Earl go into business together in the prospectingheroin trade in New York City and ask Carlito to join them. ButCarlito's old street ways of violence and sharp tongue can only serveto get him and the other guys into big trouble in this business,especially with 'Hollywood Nicky', the powerful black man who overlooksthe heroin trade in New York City, and makes sure that the Italianskeep to their side, the blacks to theirs, and the Puerto Ricans remainin the middle. As Carlito and the gang move up in the ranks and becomefeared and respected in their part of the city, Carlito begins arelationship with a nice Puerto Rican girl who isn't very aware of hisreal lifestyle, and things get messy when Earl's younger brother, ablack revolutionist, causes some trouble with the Italians that theyare in business with. Before I even mention how underrated this filmis, I want to point out what a great actor Jay Hernandez is. As yet, hehas never gotten his true break which I think he deserves. He hasappeared in well known films such as "World Trade Centre", "Hostel" and"Quarantine" - the American remake of the French horror film "Rec". Heis brilliant here portraying a younger, slick Carlito Brigante, in aperformance that almost mirrors Al Pacino's in "Carlito's Way". He musthave spent hours watching that film in preparation for this role. MarioVan Peebles ("Jaws: The Revenge", "New Jack City") is brilliant asEarl. 'P-Diddy' stars alongside Hernandez as Hollywood Nicky in a verygood performance, and strangely, and this I have to admit was verystupid, Luiz Guzman, who starred in a prominent role in "Carlito'sWay", plays a crack-pot hit-man in a very eccentric and weirdperformance that seemed unnecessary. Why could they not have chosen adifferent actor? It was just off-putting having an actor from the firstfilm playing a totally different, non-related character. The editing isperfect and the film flows at a fine pace and is very entertaining. Idon't understand all the negativity surrounding the film, probably justbecause of what it is as usually, prequels or sequels of any kindreceive a lot of sometimes exaggerating negativity and abuse. But"Carlito's Way: Rise to Power" is a brilliant prequel, albeit flawed,but is still a fine tribute to one of the greatest gangster films evermade.
Reviewed byredwhiteblue5087Vote: 7/10/10
Having read some of the negative reviews, I approached this with lowexpectations, but straight away was surprised by the good cast andclassy production values, which were much higher than the usual moviesreleased straight to DVD. Although not specifically a prequel, as itseems to be set in the same decade as the Pacino film, it stars thelikable Hernandez playing the same charismatic character. The storykept you entertained all the way through until the end, which was theonly slight disappointment. The final shoot out was a littleanticlimactic, but managed to tie up the loose ends satisfactorilyenough. Overall, worth a watch if you enjoy gangster movies, but don'tset your expectations too high.
Reviewed byClaudio CarvalhoVote: 6/10/10
In the 60's, the Puerto Rican Carlito Brigante (Jay Hernandez), theAfro-American Earl (Mario Van Peebles) and the Italian Rocco (MichaelKelly) become best friends while in prison. When they are released,Rocco intermediates a heroin business with a family of the ItalianMafia leaded by Artie Bottolota Sr. (Burt Young). Carlito negotiateswith the lord Leroy "Hollywood Nicky" Barnes (Sean Combs) the areawhere the trio could operate in his neighborhood and sooner the threefriends become powerful. Later, Carlito dates and has an affair withthe beautiful Leticia (Jaclyn DeSantis). When Earl decides to move toBarbados with his girlfriend and leave the heroin business, his stupidyounger brother causes a situation with the Italian mobsters, andCarlito and Rocco have to resolve the mess to save their lives.
"Carlito's Way: Rise to Power" is not as bad as written in many reviewsin IMDb. Actually it is a good story, with the beginning of thecriminal life of Carlito, showing his ability to negotiate. The storyhas good doses of humor, a decent plot and a surprising twist in theend. I do not dare to compare this movie with the excellent Brian DePalma's Carlito's Way, but I personally liked the explanations of thecriminal life of Carlito and his friends. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "O Pagamento Final: Rumo ao Poder" ("The Final Payment:in the Way to the Power")
In the 60's, the Puerto Rican Carlito Brigante, the Afro-American Earl and the Italian Rocco become best friends while in prison. When they are released, Rocco intermediates a heroin business with a family of the Italian Mafia leaded by Artie Badalato Sr. Carlito negotiates with the lord Leroy "Hollywood Nicky" Barnes the area where the trio could operate in his neighborhood and sooner the three friends become powerful. Later, Carlito dates and has an affair with the beautiful Leticia. When Earl decides to move to Barbados with his girlfriend and leave the heroin business, his stupid younger brother causes a situation with the Italian mobsters, and Carlito and Rocco have to resolve the mess to save their lives.