19 November 2007

American Gangster

American Gangster is not the Boss

Let me start off by saying that this movie was excellent. The only problem was that it was not what I thought it should be. It never achieved the greatness that it could have. It seemed content in its mediocrity. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe shared the screen for the first time since Virtuosity. That was back before Russell Crowe was an Oscar Winner and before Denzel was a two-time winner. Denzel gave one of his best performances. He would be deserving of an award nomination. Russell Crowe, on the other hand, did not give it his all. Anyone could have played Det. Richie Roberts. Mr. Crowe should stick to the hype on 3:10 to Yuma. Well, Ridley Scott did was he does best in this film. All the players were good, the direction was good, the story was good, but the overall movie was not that strong. Josh Brolin had a bit role in this movie, but he should help hype his role in No Country for Old Men.

This movie follows the rise of real-life crime boss/drug lord Frank Lucas. It starts with the death of his mentor and boss. Lucas then decides that he is going to become the ultimate drug lord by buying directly from the Vietnamese themselves. He brings his family from the South up and puts all his brothers to work for him. He puts himself into a position were the Italian mob is paying him along with other people, just to have his brand name, Blue Magic.

The other side to the story is the life of Detective Richie Roberts. He is a cop down on his luck in the force and in his personal life. His wife, Carla Gugino, is divorcing him. His partner and he find a stash of money and return it to the police department in a time of heavy corruption. This makes him a target to his own kind. So, he develops his own task force set to take down the drug cartel. The only problem they have is, they have to find who the head of the gang is.
This pursues for two and half hours until the anti-climactic apex. I will not give it all away. Look for cameos from Academy Award Winner Cuba “Snow Dogs” Gooding and Serenity’s own Chiwetel Ejiofor. Ruby Dee plays Lucas's mother, and she stole every scene she is in. Verdict: Definitely worth the watch. If you have the time, the theater is not the worst place to see it. If you don’t have the time, a rental would not hurt. This movie, despite its problems, could still play a major part in this year’s award season.