The Two Jakes (1990) - Special Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery
Paramount || R - 138 minutes - $14.99 || November 6, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-11-26

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Jack Nicholson
Writer(s): Robert Towne (written by)(characters by)
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly, Madeleine Stowe, Eli Wallach, Ruben Blades, Frederic Forrest, David Keith

Theatrical Release Date: August 10, 1990

Supplemental Material:
  • Jack on Jakes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Surround 2.0), French (Dolby Surround 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Surround 2.0), Portuguese (Dolby Surround 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

Hollywood as long been known for making sequels and the vast majority are unneccesary. In the case of Chinatown, a sequel is something that no one would ask for. It is extremely rare that a film of Chinatown's calibre could be made into a successful sequel. Films such as The Godfather or Alien are exceptions to this rule but for the most part, it is very hard to match the quality of a classic film like Chinatown as a sequel. All that aside, it still baffles me as to why Jack Nicholson decided to go ahead and make The Two Jakes.

The film was released back in 1990, 16 years after Chinatown. It was also in the heart of when Hollywood was going insane with sequels and franchises. Films such as Rocky, Back to the Future, The Terminator, Rambo, Batman, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard were in the midst of being big franchises with numerous sequels in the works. So perhaps studios were looking for successful films from the past to cash in on? I don't know.

Is The Two Jakes a horrible film? I would say no. It is actually quite watchable with a very good cast. The character of Jake Gittes is one of the most memorable characters in the history of cinema so most moviegoers wouldn't mind following Gittes around for 3 or 4 more films. The problem is, do you have a story good enough to make the audience want to come back 3 or 4 more times? In the case of The Two Jakes, the answer is no.

While the story is fairly well written, it is unable to even come close to Chinatown in terms of overall filmmaking and the near perfection of Robert Towne's original script (Towne actually wrote the script for The Two Jakes as well). The Two Jakes is unable to match the atmoshpere and the overall classic film-noir feel that Chinatown was able to capture so well. Nicholson does a solid job as a director/actor but the film is clearly several levels below Chinatown. The film's 140 minute running time also does not help as the film drags in seveal areas.

Ultimately, The Two Jakes is fairly mediocre with a forgettable ending in contrast to Chinatown, which is brilliant with one of the most memorable endings of all time.


The only extra on the DVD is a featurette titled Jack on Jakes. This is an 18 minute look at how the film was put into production. The only person interviewed on the featurette is of course, Jack Nicholson. Nicholson is fairly candid about how he had a stronger desire to be a director more than an actor. Nicholson also discusses how he always thought that Chinatown would be a trilogy. The first film would be about water, the second about earth and the last one about air. Nicholson is also very honest about how poorly the film was received 17 years ago.

The DVD also includes a theatrical trailer for The Two Jakes.


As with Chinatown, Paramount did a fine job in the video and audio transfers for The Two Jakes. The picture is crisp and the audio is good for a dialougue heavy film. The film is presented in widescreen that is enhanced for 16:9 Tv's. The audio specifications are Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and English 2.0 Surround. 2.0 Surround tracks in French, Spanish and Portuguese are also available.


Like the film itself, the DVD packaging for The Two Jakes is quite underwhelming. While the interview with Nicholson is interesting, it doesn't seem enough to warrant the purchase of the film. Like with Chinatown, perhaps a commentary would have been included? I would have liked to hear more from the rest of the cast and crew regarding the film. In the end, most people have no idea a sequel to Chinatown was ever made and I think ultimately, that's a good thing.