Jungle Fever (1991) Kino Lorber Feb 4th 2020
Directed By: Spike Lee
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Spike Lee, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Samuel L Jackson
The early '90's was an incredibly exciting time for cinema. The first five years of the decade we were introduced to directs like Quinton Tarantino, Kevin Smith and others directors finally coming into their own. Spike Lee was far from a new director by the time Jungle Fever came out in 1991 but he was firmly establishing himself as a force within the industry. Flipper (Wesley Snipes) is a successful and hard working architect. He has a loving marriage and a daughter but his life gets turned upside down when he gets an attractive Italian American woman is hired as his secretary.
So, onto the not so good. Because Lee's film are made in a very specific time and place they tend to feel incredibly dated to modern audiences. Another theme that never sat well with me in regards to Lee's films is the horrible way Italian Americans are portrayed. I mean, wow- they are next level monsters that only spew hate and violence. And while I adore Lee's grand scale and ambition with his films, it often means scenes tend to drag and go on way longer than it needs to be. Jungle Fever is clearly made by a talented director at his creative peak with a dream cast of excellent actors. For me the overly long run-time and the dated aspects doesn't quite ruin an otherwise provocative and skillful made film but it doesn't do it any favors either. Lets say for me its a mixed bag.
Kino has really out done themselves with a near perfect film transfer. The colors are vivid and this new transfer show's off Ernest Dickson's often times in your face cinematography in all of its glory. This is clearly sourced from a very good print as there is no artifacts or sign of damage. I cannot stress just how good this film looks. It also sports a healthy 2.0 Mono mix and dialogue comes out clear as does the films score by Terrence Blanchard. No features are included on this release. Overall despite my mixed feelings about the film this is a great release and if you are a fan of his films this edition looks and sounds great.
Kino Spike Lee films released by Kino include Summer of Sam, Clockers, Crooklyn and Mo Better Blues.