In its quest to capture some of the mobster mojo of HBO's The Sopranos, NBC commissioned veteran writer/producer David Mills to come up with a modern-day gangster saga that would push the boundaries of language, sex, and violence on broadcast network television. Kingpin did just that, setting the mobsters in Mexico, but to mixed reviews and progressively declining ratings. The "producer's cut" of the six episodes packaged for home viewing doesn't enrich the material but it does showcase it nicely for what fans the series has. The problem with the series, which starts off with a bang and ends with a limp, is that it's too similar to its templates -- Macbeth, Traffic, and The Sopranos -- leaving little for the actors to do but try to out cool each other while shouting overheated dialogue. There are some thrills to be had, mostly involving future victims who don't know they're about to become tiger food, but most of it simply seems designed to get you from one commercial to the next. Thankfully, there are no commercials, so it moves faster but no less predictably.
by Buzz McClain review