From start to finish, it's a story of friendship between 4 street-wise males who don't mind using violence to achieve the lives that they want. They trust no one but each other which is vital to their success as mobsters.
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The story of a group of friends in turn of the century New York, from their early days as street hoods to their rise in the world of organized crime. As their crime empire expands, they have to deal with many problems, including their own differing opinions on how to run their business, the local Godfather, and the psychotic Mad Dog Coll. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
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[as the Big Four consider Faranzano's offer]
... Fifteen percent off the top from Faranzano's operation, huh? You know how much money that is? Well, I don't either. But it's a hell of a lot.
But as soon as we sold to Faranzano, he'd knock you off because you're Sicilian; one day, you might wanna be boss. If he iced you now, there'd be a stink all right. But if you're working for Faranzano, who's gonna come after him except the three of us? And then we'd all be history.
That's why we're in ...
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Surprisingly entertaining mob flick, but is short on substance
This is one of those guilty pleasure movies for me...it combines elements of the great mob movies with fast paced and hard hitting action. For the most part, the director pulls this one off pretty well, at least for what kind of movie he was trying to direct.
I've been reading a lot of comments stating that this movie can't hold a candle anywhere near Goodfellas or Godfather or even Donnie Brasco (all of which are excellent movies). Well, all I have to say is, NO, REALLY?!? I mean come on, with a cast like Christian Slater, Patrick Dempsey and Richard Grieco, what were you expecting? Another Vito Corleone or Lefty Luggiero? This one is aimed at a younger audience (perhaps teens to mid twenties) and I have to admit, they pull it off rather nicely. What I mean is that the movie, though serious throughout, does not try to be an epic, only a high octane crowd pleaser. The action scenes are bloody and well done, and the sets are lovely. Even the acting is surprisingly good, especially Patrick Dempsey and dare I say, Richard '21 Jump Street' Grieco. What kills me about this flick is that, though it is an exciting movie and a more than anything else, an effective time killer, the direction cuts from scene to scene getting straight to the point and little else. This seriously detracts from characterization and overall storytelling (I totally agree with other viewers who said that this movie should be at least an hour longer). I mean, at the beginning, we are vaguely introduced to our protagonists, and then five minutes later, they are in their twenties, and have already established themselves as small time crooks. How? Movies like Goodfellas and Once Upon a Time in America are great movies partly b\c they had wonderful scenes of the main characters as children, so we can see their motives when they eventually become mobsters. This one, like I said, jumps from one scene to another, not wasting a second on dramatic pauses or even characterization. It seriously reminds you of a cookie-cutter Jerry Bruckheimer production, minus the explosions. It does have nice touches here and there of authentic 1920-1930's life and old movies depicting that era which gives the film class (the tunes, the model-T's, the dancers, the neighborhoods and finally, the spinning newspaper headlines) instead of just being another Young Guns meets the Goodfellas. However, as I said, the film's objective, to make a fast paced mafia movie with popular actors suceeds, but it also leads to its biggest downfall of limited characterization. It is hard to feel for (or despise) characters without knowing their background all too well...all we get is, hey Lucky had a hard life, Benny likes to kill people, Don Massaria is fat, the other Don is a bad fella...anyway you catch my drift.
All in all, not a bad film, though it should have been longer. Watch this one only when it's on cable or when you have time to kill, for it is rather visually pleasing and entertaining. Overall, it is a movie that doesn't pretend to be something it's not, it's a decent film with a lot of action and good performances. I give it 7/10 stars.
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