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 L.A.P.D. with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.
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
Josh Brolin played Special Investigations Unit Trupo in this film. Denzel Washington played SIU agent in Training Day. See more »
When the police are searching the plane, they are removing the screws from the deck plate with hand crank screwdrivers. In one shot the screws are being driven counter-clockwise. In the next, clockwise. See more »
At the end of the closing credits, Frank Lucas approaches the camera and fires one shot from a pistol directly at the audience. See more »
The 175 min.-unrated extended version includes approx. 19 minutes of additional footage not seen in the theatrical release. Among the highlights are:
A flashback with Frank Lucas and Bumpy Johnson on a boardwalk
A short scene showing Richie Roberts acquiring office space for his new narcotics task force (this added scene follows immediately after Toback assigns Roberts to head up the federal investigation using honest cops of Roberts' choice)
A nighttime scene where Roberts and his team tail a drug pusher with a stash of Blue Magic to an auto body shop; the next morning, Spearman strikes a deal with the shop owner "Scott" over the phone, which leads up to Roberts under disguise dropping off $20,000 to get a supply of Blue Magic
In the Bronx, right after Spearman drops off Roberts and informs him that he'll circle the block, an extended scene takes place where Roberts sees both Scott take off in his Jeep and Spearman getting blocked by a broken-down truck, unable to reach Roberts. In desperation, Roberts stops a yellow cab and shows his badge, argues with the uncooperative cabbie to use it, and eventually decks the cabbie in the face to take control of the cab and quickly pursues the escaping drug pusher, ending with Roberts following the unsuspecting Scott on foot.
After the Christmas visit with Charlie Williams, there's an extended scene with Frank and Eva back at their home, where Frank reminisces how Bumpy gradually stayed more and more at home towards the end of his life because of constant police surveillance. He then asks Eva if she wants to go out, nevertheless.
An extended ending in 1991 where Lucas upon release from jail is picked up by Roberts, and the two make their way towards the intersection of 116 St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd, conversing while drinking lattes.
Detractors of this film were fooled by the trailer.
American Gangster has been really hated upon in many of the former posts I have read. Yet it seems like they are all saying the same thing, that Gangster didn't have enough action and was really drawn out. Anyone who has every seen a Ridley Scott film will know that his films are long! Blade Runner, A Good Year, Matchstick Men, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, G.I. Jane, Thelma and Louis, and Alien all ran for at least two hours or more, so big surprise there guys. In addition Scott didn't set out to film another scarface, he set out to tell a story not just about Frank Lucas but rather a tale of corruption and how pervasive it is. One user commented that this film had many side story lines that "bloated" the story. This is completely untrue as every "side story" is actually the overarching story about the fight against corruption in every facet of life, even Frank Lucas attempts several times to eradicate the corruption in his organization.
Over all this is a great film which really gets into every nook and cranny of an issue. Don't see this film if your just looking for cheap thrills, this is a thinking film about the pervasive dishonesty of our culture.
I gave this film 8 stars because i could find nothing solid that detracted from it, but rather a slew of minor details which gradually brought its score down. But I will put this film in my top films for the year, if only because I have been immensely unsatisfied with the bulk of releases this year.
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