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Kings of South Beach
Genre Crime
Year: 2007

Kings of South Beach comes to you from the writings of Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wise Guy (Goodfellas) and Casino, two books that became Martin Scorsese crime epics. He writes the script for Kings of South Beach a decade later, which is based on a true story. This made for television feature may not have the big budget flair of The Departed, but manages to entertain nevertheless. Donnie Wahlberg teams up with experienced TV maverick, Jason Gedrick in something of a buddy movie. These boys are medium-sized fish in the Miami underground, running deals, buying protection and busting balls.

Chris Troiano (Gedrick) runs a night club called Liquid and is quickly making a name for himself. Andy Burnett (Wahlberg) is Troiano’s right hand man, and the two begin to rely on one another. Kings of South Beach was produced by Pileggi and the production doesn’t boast the sound, editing and cinematography of Scorsese by any means. It does succeed in telling a story, which is made all the more real by the cheap no-frills film-making. Kings of South Beach plays like the TV crew from Las Vegas were called up. The costumes are like something from Tropical Heat and the gun play, girls and explosions are toned down. This is a real guy movie and it’s packed with cars, broads, booze and bad guys.

The performances are pretty decent, especially the chemistry between Wahlberg and Gedrick. Gedrick makes Troiano out to be a muscular playboy, whose rags-to-riches story leaves a proud but respectable criminal. Burnett is a sly, dependable and worthy sidekick, who gets his kicks from being a part of the underground. The two bounce off each other, and Pileggi installs some scenes that would match many big budget crime thrillers for design. Once you get past the TV quality and beachy music you’ll find a pulpy crime flick. Kings of South Beach is decked with night clubs, Russian mafia, druglords, dancing girls and Miami Vice escapism.

The movie is pure popcorn entertainment and moves along at a sharp pace with a few curveballs thrown in for good measure. Pileggi creates a familiar environment for this crime story to unfold. Kings of South Beach is fairly tame and alludes to much of the violence, substance abuse and nudity, instead of spelling it out. The ending comes quite abruptly and they round the story off by making reference to some actual crime facts. It’s not going to blow you away like Goodfellas or Casino, but it stands up as a half-decent TV crime movie.

The bottom line: Tame.

7.50/10 ( 2 Votes )
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