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The Musings of an Eccentric Diva

Welcome to the Musings of an Eccentric Diva. My motto is: Giving Hollyweird movies the finger one movie at a time. Enter at your own risk (insert evil Vincent Price laughter here).
 















MOVIE REVIEW: American Gangster

When Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson (Clarence Williams III) dies, his driver Frank Lucas (Denzel) is slated to take over his spot as Harlem’s crime lord. Frank takes over the operation and enlists the help of his brothers and various other relatives from his hometown in North Carolina. Being the entrepreneur he is, Frank decides to cut out the middleman and import his drugs straight from Indonesia. The “product” he puts on the market just happens to be one of the purest forms on heroin on the street. He nicknames his product Blue Magic and Lucas turns his drug trade into a million dollar a day business. Frank is at the top of his game but honest cop Ritchie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is hot on his trail. Also complicating matters is a gang of crooked cops led by Detective Trupo (Josh Brolin) who shakes down Frank at any given time. Will Frank continue his reign in Harlem as drug kingpin number one or will he be taken down by the long arm of the law? No more spoilers from me y’all!

Denzel is MY MAN, there is no denying that. He can turn a so-so film into a really entertaining one (Déjà vu). I will say I consider this another one of his so-so films. I am no advocate of drug dealers, I actually despise them but I think it was due time to see something of this magnitude on the screen. George Jung and Henry Hill (Blow and Goodfellas respectively) both had their stories depicted on screen, so it was time a Black dealer got his turn. While watching this film I saw a culmination of all the great characters Denzel played previously in this one role…I saw Alonzo from Training Day, I saw Malcolm X, and I saw Ruben “Hurricane” Carter. It’s almost like he’s becoming a caricature of all the roles his previous roles when I know he has more range than what was depicted here. Who really stole the show for me was Josh Brolin's character Detective Trupo. Josh is becoming the go-to bad guy for films lately, I need to dedicate a post to him because I'm truly digging him. Russell Crowe's Ritchie Russell character was straight boring, I guess they had to throw in the divorce scenario for good measure because it did nothing for the storyline. Cuba Gooding's small role as rival gangster Nicky Barnes provides one of the most entertaining scenes in the film. It would be nice to see real actors in movies instead of rappers, T.I. and Common had no place in this film except to draw people into the theaters, at least they gave RZA a real role. With the exception of the rappers, this film had a terrific cast. I don't know what I was expecting to see, but this film did not live up to its hype. It wasn't a terrible film but it was no epic either. Typical popcorn fare.

VERDICT: 2 1/2 Soul Claps

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