Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe star in the eagerly awaited film American Gangster, the story of legendary Harlem drug lord, Frank Lucas, whose drug trafficking made him one of the biggest mobsters of his time. Washington plays Lucas while Russell Crowe is Richie Roberts, an all-American cop who is for truth, honesty and the NYPD way.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
In a Godfather-Scarface style the movie tracks the life of Frank Lucas as a nobody to a gun pulling, heroin smuggling, fearless murderer whose central focus is always family...you know how these gangster movies are, as long as they are loyal to their biological family the villains morph into simple people who are trapped in the vile world of environmental determinism.
American Gangster is a film that you expect to be flawless with the casting of Washington, Crowe, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Idris Elba, the legendary Ruby Dee and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. However, there is a bizarre casting of a 35 year-old Common playing the father of 27 year-old TI. Now, I understand attempting to pull in as much of the urban audience as possible, but this casting choice was absolutely ridiculous considering we are already so familiar with the hip-hop mega-stars—Common does not pass for TI’s pappy! Are there no other young African-American to choose from? I guess if TI's character was a butch lesbian they could've cast Bow Wow!
American Gangster is a "well" movie. Meaning, well-acted, well-written, well-done and might possibly bring in a couple nominations. Nonetheless, throughout the entire film something is just blatantly bland—it's like fried chicken without the skin! See, American Gangster moves like a dying slug, slithering across the screen as you wait for each music video sequence to end, each epic monologue to make its point and for the gangster to finally get caught. With all this extra time, you still never feel emotionally invested in any of the characters, except for maybe Ruby Dee who plays Washington's mother.
The film’s most costly flaw is a grand two hour and thirty-seven minutes. When a flick turns into a saga you better be sure the script is tight, the plot is compelling and the expectation is severe enough for an audience to sit in a theatre long enough to have brain surgery—American Gangster definitely did not do this. In no way is the film bad, but it's certainly exhausting. A good forty-five minutes to an hour needed to be shaved off, which quite possibly could've turned it to a tighter, more interesting tale of a true American Gangster.
American Gangster is attempting to be grandiose film that wants to go down in history like a Goodfellas. However, by the first day of 2008 American Gangster will be well forgotten. I could see many people enjoying the film and as much as I wanted to—I just didn't. Hell, they would've been better off doing a remake of New Jack City.
American Gangster is in theatres nationwide tomorrow, November 2nd.
Labels: MOVIE REVIEWS
Posted by Clay ::
12:07 AM ::