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The success of Brian De Palma'sCarlito's Wayensures that the straight-to-DVD release ofCarlito's Way: Rise to Powerwill attract an eager audience among fans of urban gangland melodramas. A stellar cast provides adequate compensation as this tame, relatively bloodless prequel trots out every cliché in the book, qualifying as the 21st-century equivalent of a Warner Bros. gangster programmer from the 1930s. The well-chosen cast of new and familiar faces is caught up in a standard plot of territorial tension in Harlem between the blacks led by Hollywood Nicky (Sean Combs, adding a touch of blingy humor), the old-school Mafia led by Artie Sr. (Burt Young), and the caught-in-the-middle Puerto Ricans who are gaining control as Carlito (Jay Hernandez, in the role Al Pacino originated) and his cross-cultural gang rises to power after his recent release from prison with cellmates and partners-in-crime Earl (Mario Van Peebles) and Rocco (Michael Kelly). They're a tight trio in a climate of mistrust and deception, and Earl's hot-headed brother (Mtume Grant) sets off a series of events that force Carlito to invent a clever alliance that raises the body count while ensuring his long-term status as a dude-you-don't-mess-with. It's fun, for what it's worth (and fans of De Palma's film will enjoy connecting events from one film to the other), but there's not a shred of originality in script or direction by Michael Scott Bregman, whose father Martin producedCarlito's Way. Still, there's something to be said for a gang picture that never promises more than it can deliver. On those terms, and with enough violence and strip-joint nudity to satisfy its generic prerequisites,Rise to Poweris definitely worth a look.--Jeff Shannon
Doesn't even deserve 1 Star The only resemblance Rise to Power has with the original Carlito's Way film is in name and producer Martin Bregman. The success of the original begs for a vivacious, guns-blazing Carlito Brigante prequel. Unfortunately, Martin Bregman decided to bankroll his son as the director. The result was a train wreck of a movie with horrible casting, acting, writing, directing; you name it, Michael Bregman did it... bad. Topping it all off, the plot fails to lead in to the original movie!
The irony of this Michael Bregman is the similarity between him and a character in the movie - Reggie. Given the chance to inherit his older brother's powerful and profitable position, Reggie, at every turn, makes horrible decisions. At times, these decisions are made, seemingly without any sort of reason. In the same way, Michael Bregman's choices for the film are painfully disgraceful to the original Carlito's Way, and to his father...
This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. For the love, stay away...
Keepin' it Gangsta: '60s style I never got to see the orignal Carlito's way but after seeing rise to power, It's a must that I do. This movie shows how Carlito Brigante rose through the ranks of the mean Harlem streets to become a big-time heroin kingpin. Jay Hernandez did a good job as a young Carlito. He even sounded like how Pacino would have sounded in his younger days. Even though I don't care for hime to much, P. Diddy did his thing as Hollywood Nicky. Big ups to him on thathahaha Once again in fantasyland we go with fake "gangstas".P diddo or diddity, pifily poof what ever his name is this week.This movie is not worth the price of the plastic used to make it.the established italian mobsters would not put a black or puerto rican on equel footing.these guys would not share the same area in the joint.ridiculous!!!when it comes to TRUE GANGSTERS there are serious racial/ethnic barriers.That is just the facts.As much as the mass media tries to rewrite history it still doesnt change it.