Servicalble but undistinguished retro crime flick.
Mafia is a crime flick in the tradition of New Jack City starring Ving Rhames as Renzo,a psychotically violent aspiring crime kingpin hoping to take over the whole city with the help of his crew.
Set in the 70's and shot 70's style with an old school R&B soundtrack, we watch as Renzo kills everyone standing in his way while a pair of cops try to connect him to the crimes. The cops, a hothead with a vendetta played by Pam Grier and a laid back straight arrow played by Robert Patrick, cannot catch the crook in the act as he goes around presenting himself as a legitimate investment banker.
There's not much to this movie. It's violent, really short, and Ving Rhames does a great job in a role that plays to his strengths allowing him to be both smart and deadly, not unlike his character in Pulp Fiction. The two cops are underwritten but the actors' performances are fairly good. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty terrible, unfortunate especially considering how much time is spent on Renzo's conscious stricken right hand man.
The movie doesn't have much to say or anything, other than the 70's setting, to set it aside from other movies of its kind. There are occasional references to blacksploitation but they're not a huge part of the movie. Rhames wears African garb and Pam Grier is obviously playing a riff on her Foxy Brown role but this movie never has the fighting the system mentality of those classic movies.
Basically, this is a passable, generic little crime flick that's pretty watchable, especially for fans of Rhames, but don't expect a classic.
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