After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
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
The best thing this movie had going for it - which is no surprise - is the acting duo of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. How many bad movies do you see with either of those guys starring in them? Not many, and neither actor disappoints here. Both play fascinating guys, Washington, a big gangster ("Frank Lucas") and Crowe, an honest cop ("Richie Roberts")
This movie reminded me a lot of the '83 "Scarface" film in which Tony Montana (Al Pacino) rises from the bottom up to be a big drug lord, only to have things crumble big-time. We see a similar tale here with "Lucas," except that his fall is sudden in this story, unlike Pacino's character.
Director Ridley Scott and photographer Harris Savides also give us a slick- looking film, very pretty spots and stylishly-directed.
The story wasn't quite as good as the people who photographed it and acted in it. It's still a good one in that it entertains. I was never bored despite the two- and-a-half-hour length of it. I was a bit confused in the first 25 minutes but things straightened out after that.
The supporting cast in here is very deep with a lot of familiar faces, going all the way back to 83-year-old Ruby Dee. A new, young face - Lamari Nadal - is a real beauty. She plays Frank's wife, who is a lot nicer character than the one Michelle Peiffer played in "Scarface."
A key to whether you enjoy this or not - if you haven't seen it - might be your expectations. Know in advance there is not a ton of action in this tough crime movie and don't listen to all the hype that this is "the best film of the year." Just expect a decent movie with good acting and instead of a lot of blood and guts, and you should enjoy it. That's how I looked at it, and it worked for me. It was entertaining enough for me that I'd watch it again.
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