Think back to the early 90’s for a moment. Schwarzenegger was still a ‘Terminator’, Michael Keaton was ‘Batman’ and Will Smith was only the ‘Fresh Prince’. This was a time when Wesley Snipes was an ‘A’-list action star and heavyweight dramatic leading man as well. For every ‘Passenger 57’, there was a ‘Jungle Fever‘, every ‘White Men Can’t Jump’, a ‘New Jack City’ or ‘Sugar Hill’. This was a man with the build of a boxer and athleticism of a gymnast, who was also a classically trained actor.
The last six years haven’t been kind to Snipes. His recent out-put of b-grade action films have guaranteed consistent paychecks but ultimately have lessened his value to American audiences. How did this guy end up in B-movie purgatory? Snipes has made claims (somewhat fairly) of being blacklisted from Hollywood after the fall-out surrounding ‘Blade 3’. Reports suggest that Snipes was extremely un-cooperative on the set. When the film came out and did middling ($52million) business he sued New Line Cinema for $13million dollars citing breach of contract, claiming he had no voice in the hiring of novice director David Goyer. Filing a very public lawsuit against a studio is career suicide. Coupled with the IRS investigation Wesley Snipes had become a joke.
But now one of the big-screens finest is back in ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’, playing a character that is somewhat of a bookend to his ‘Nino Brown’ role in 1991’s ‘New Jack City’. Two years removed from all the media hysteria revolving around his legal troubles, Snipes is back in cinemas delivery a career best performance. The second he steps on screen you are instantly aware why this man was a movie star in the first place. That’s why; I’m still a fan of Wesley Snipes.
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