Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Duke and his screenwriter, Chris Brancato, don't make Hoodlum into a violent action film, though it has its bloody shoot-outs, but into more of a character study.
Entertainment Weekly
The director, Bill Duke ("A Rage in Harlem"), stages all of this with proficient confidence, yet he never truly summons the operatic power of the genre -- the pulp tragedy of ambition built on (and drowned in) blood.
USA Today
The Sting-like ending with its crosses and double-crosses could have been better handled, but there are plenty of other payoffs in Hoodlum. [27Aug1995 Pg02.D]
It is familiarly old-fashioned, complete with montages of newspaper clippings fluttering past and calendar days slipping by. The sets, costumes, old cars and general atmosphere all beautifully recall moviemaking of a bygone era. And for that, hats off to Duke.
While Chris Brancato's script doesn't reveal anything new or surprising (students of history and fans of "The Cotton Club" already know how this film ends), it's a competent piece of storytelling that incorporates elements of human interest with the threat of escalating violence.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Duke rarely operates at more than a TV movie-of-the-week level of originality, but Hoodlum is still an easy movie to enjoy.
Christian Science Monitor
Laurence Fishburne and Tim Roth play the main characters with conviction, but Bill Duke's punchy filmmaking style banishes any hope of storytelling subtlety or psychological nuance.
Uneven and inaccurate as it may be, it's hard to wash out entirely with a movie that explores as neglected an aspect of classic gangster mythology as this one; at the same time, you can't help but wish it did so more successfully.
Austin Chronicle
At the very least, Hoodlum might have been better off had it been filmed in monochromatic black-and-white instead of the garish color palette (and plenty of gore) that Duke opted for because they, unfortunately, only reinforce the hamminess of the picture.
Hoodlum is an overlong gangster movie, a bloated and often laughable attempt at an epic.

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