On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the LAPD with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.
Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and he comes up with a unique way of importing the drugs into the United States. As a result, his product is superior to what is currently available on the street and his prices are lower. His alliance with the New York Mafia ensures his position. It is also the story of a dedicated and honest policeman, Richie Roberts, who heads up a joint narcotics task force with the Federal government. Based on a true story. Written by
Finally a good, accurate, gangster drug-trafficking film that makes you think. It's far from Polyanna and lets no-one group off; not gangsters of any race or ethnicity, not cops on the take, addicts, etc. And importantly, the story, based upon the true life story of Frank Lucas, does not profile a stereotypical black gangster gone wrong but instead shows an elegant, intellectual man who rises to the top of his game but then learns something new in the end. The film is a sure-shot into the Oscars but more importantly, for me, it's a film that is socially responsible and imparts a thoughtful message for any viewer,especially in light of current times.
Technically, it's got it all going on. Script,Camera, lighting,and not only par excellence from Crowe and Washington but the entire acting cast. The film uses fabulous close-ups and unbelievably good action shots. I disagree with any reviews that claim the movie is not packed with enough action or violence. How tiresome that would be! Instead, while including some of the best action/violent shots ever filmed, Mr. Ridley gives us a relevant and real-life look into the narcotics business top-to-bottom and across the board. I would far prefer to see a movie that has a dozen or so magnificently staged violent shots that dare to go deeper and translate both internal as well as external motivations as to depict real life. The film is not only entertaining; its portrayal is authentic to the real life grizzly and sometimes grayed world of crime/justice as well as didactic and amazingly...uplifting. What a nice surprise.
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