Wednesday, January 23, 2008

American Gangsta'

Went to the movies last Friday and saw American Gangster. This is basically the story of a Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington), who makes his way to the top in the crime world in Harlem after his boss dies. By going directly to the drug farmers in Vietnam and using contacts in the US army to smugle the drugs back to the US, Frank Lucas is able to sell drugs cheaper and purer then his rivals. Ritchie Roberts (Russel Crowe)is an honest cop in a police force were 3/4 are on the mobs pay role. He gets head-hunted to lead a special task force against the drug traffic in the city. This is as much of the story I can tell without spoiling the movie. It's based on a true story; Frank Lucas and Ritchie Roberts are both real persons living today.

Most gangster movies are loaded with shoot outs and car chases. This movie has some shooting and volence in it, but are much more story driven then action driven. I recommend this movie because it has a great story, great performances by Washington and Crowe (and I loved seeing Washington as a "bad guy") and Josh Brolin did a great supporting role as the crooked cop Trupo. Two thumbs up!


Wilhelm said...

Hey; I saw this movie a bunch of years ago, only it was called Scarface, and Al Pacino had the lead role.

Wilhelm said...

Now hold up a bit - I remember now; I HAVE seen this movie, but it must have been a remake or something, 'cause it was called Goodfellas, and De Niro was playin, as was Joe Pesci

Wilhelm said...

No no; my mistake; O HAVE seen it, but you must've gotten the title wrong - it was "Once Upon A Time In America, and starred De Niro, Joe Pesci and James Woods

Wilhelm said...

....wait a minute - the "based on a true story" fooled me for a while - I've seen this: Heat starring Pacino and De Niro, right?

Anders said...

So, the guy who loves Arnie-flicks complains about variety in movies? Pot meet kettle, eh?

Serious, what separetes this movie from the other you mentioned, is that American Gangster is story driven. None of the huge shoot out ending, none that "say hello to my little friend". They could have put a lot more graphic violence and action in there, the story do justify that, but they didn't. And it got Denzel Washington as a bad guy.

Wilhelm said... they blew the fx budget on Denzel....big freakin' deal. Have you seen "Hoodlum" with Laurence Fishbourne, btw?

Naw - just playin' with you dude. But the thing is - I'm not sayin' that Arnold movies are very diverse, but rather that although I occasionally make fun of Steven Seagal movies for being identical save for the title (ex. navy seal/green beret/marine/ninja now working as a cook or a EHS dude), the sad fact is that since Godfather, every mafia/greaseball/goombah/guido movie has used the same fuckin' storyline

Anders said...

I know, I know. Can't beat the Godfather triology. But not every mobster movie tells the story this well. And it has some really class acting, which I enjoyed. And it also do not contain so much of that raw and brutal violence that the other movies you listed. For some that might dull the movie, but I thought it just made the movie better.

Oh, Donnie Brasco was a refreshing mafia movie. Different angel, not the same old story and Depp and Pacino in leading roles (say what you want, but Pacino KNOWS how to play mafia)