Fear City (1984) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is one seriously bad movie about a crazed martial arts dude who is stalking strippers in the Broadway area.

Abet Ferrara directed, and he's done some much better movies, almost always concentrating on the underbelly of urban life. He did New Rose Hotel, and Bad Lieutenant, for example. Fear City must be the low point of his career. That's misleading, I suppose, because Fear City would be the low point of anybody's career, except maybe John Derek.

This movie has every cliche in the book. The ex-boxer (Tom Berenger) who left the ring because he killed an opponent. The mobsters. The psycho bad guy. The fringe players who own strip clubs (Michael Gazzo and Joe Santos, who else?). The cop who calls everybody in New York a "dago wop ginny scumbag". I guess one ethnic insult isn't enough. And that's what he calls the Swedish guys. He really has his "a" material saved up for the Italians.


Various strippers are seen topless and in g-strings. Melanie Griffith, Rae Dawn Chong, and Emilia Crow (aka Emilia Lesniak) are seen in prolonged strips. Maria Conchita Alonso is in the movie as a stripper, but doesn't have a strip scene on camera.
And of course, eventually the lethal ex-boxer must face down the martial arts dude mano-a-mano, boxing-vs-kungfu. The killer is one tough dude. Remember Berenger killed a guy in the ring with his gloves on. But he gives this kungfu bastard about 100 direct bare-knuckle shots to the head without hurting either the guy or his knuckles. And the cop (ol' Lando Kalrissian) who hates him gives him a grudging compliment, and says affectionately, "now get oudda here, ya big dago ginny wop galoot".

Lando showed up with about 20 cop cars the minute after Berenger barely defeated the guy, and this was about the tenth time in the movie that Lando and his flotilla of sirens and flashing lights showed up ten seconds too late.

DVD info from Amazon.

No features at all except the original r-rated trailer. Anamorphic widescreen, 16:9 enhanced.

A very poor transfer, filled with blur and pixillation.

Most of the characters are so sketchy that you barely can remember their function in the plot. Rosanno Brazzi plays some kind of major mobster whose role is never explained except to post bail once, and whose English is mumbled and unintelligible. Some of the strippers seem like they should be important, but aren't. Maybe some other scenes were cut, because the film is only 95 minutes long.

Of course, it has about 30 minutes of strippers stripping, so you might enjoy it for that reason. The strippers include Rae Dawn Chong and Melanie Griffith.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Maltin 1.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.5.

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