Hell's Kitchen (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

This is a bleak, dreary and boring movie, shot in lighting levels that are way too low. The title, Hell's Kitchen, derives from the seedy part of New York City where the characters live. 

Instead of telling interesting story, it tries to hold viewer attention by taking the characters deeper and deeper into hell - you stole my junk, so I'll fuck your mother, then you kill my brother, then I'll shoot your best friend, and rob your uncle's store, then you'll do five years hard time in prison, and so forth. 

Geez, guys, sometimes you have to distinguish between drama and melodrama.

It's a first directorial effort from writer/director Tony Cinciripini. I do have to give the guy special credit for one thing. First movie he ever made, and he not only managed to get Rosanna Arquette and Angelina Jolie in the cast, but he managed to get their breasts on camera. 


see the main commentary

DVD info from Amazon

  • no widescreen

  • no features

He had to think this directing thing ain't so bad.

To be more serious, Cinciripini does have plenty of edge, and he seems to have worked well with the actors. There's raw talent on display, but it's completely unchanneled. This film wasn't very good and never had a wide theatrical release in the United States, and he has never directed another one.


Hell's Kitchen was a first time directing effort from Tony Cinciripini, budgeted at six million dollars, but it grossed a whopping nine thousand dollars in its public release. The box office, and the 4.3 IMDB rating should be enough to warn you off. Add the fact that the nude scenes are very dark, and I was right in ignoring it.

Part of the problem is that Cinciripini didn't know what kind of film he was trying to make. He managed to tell a complete young fighter story with all of the plot elements: bad boy turns good, has eccentric manager, gets title bout, is asked to throw the fight, and defends justice and the American way. The fighter's career, however, is only a minor plot element. The main story is about how the fighter and some of his friends attempted a robbery, which resulted in of the friends getting shot and killed while the fighter went to prison for the crime. Another of the friends shacked up with the dead kid's sister (Angelina Jolie) and her dope addict mother (Rosanna Arquette). There is also the official James Cagney sub-plot where the fighter rescues a tough street kid.

It wasn't possible to get into any part of the story because there were just too many things going on, way too many characters, and most of the tale was unpleasant.

The Critics Vote

  • no mentions from the major reviewers

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.3
  • with their dollars ... the film was a disaster. It cost six million dollars to make, and grossed nine thousand in unsuccessful trial markets!!
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D (both reviewers). Unpleasant, hard to watch, despite a lot of talent on display.

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