Touted as a ground-breaking addition to the crime-on-the-streets genre, Van Peebles' thriller is far more modest: a high-tech update on that old warhorse, a mobster's rise and fall. Ruthless Nino Brown (Snipes) lords it over a New York neighbourhood with an empire built on crack and violence. It's only when two disenchanted streetwise officers come together - African-American Scott Appleton (Ice T) and Nick Peretti (Nelson) - that his domain is effectively threatened. The movie pays lip service to social analysis while delighting in the paraphernalia of violence. As such, it's a superior example of what used to be called blaxploitation, with Van Peebles piling on corruption and carnage for all he's worth.