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
Rapper Jay-Z was invited to a screening of the film. He was so impressed with the film he made an album called "American Gangster". See more »
Frank is introduced Mr. Svbota at a cocktail party. Frank asks what he can get him, and Mr. Svbota responds "How about a left-hander Charlie says is your nephew." Later in the movie, Stevie Lucas is playing baseball in Frank's backyard, and throwing right-handed. 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.
Ridley Scott's new flick American Gangster was a good one. Though Im not gonna be saying it's the best film of the year or anything like that. It was directed well, barely any dull scenes, great acting by an enormous cast and was really well-written. Unfortunately the story never seemed "new" to me. I was reminded of other drug-related/crime movies, like BLOW, CITY OF GOD, and evening TRAINING DAY....."My Man". Though it's in the leagues as being entertaining as the above mentioned movies, it really just never felt like I was watching a "new" story. But speaking of story, I never knew anything about Frank Lucas, and his story is fantastic. A black man who was more influential than his Mafian brethren? Tell me you're kidding. Nope, he was a force in Harlem back in the late 60s and early 70s and barely anyone knows about it. But for me this area of the film was the only stand out part. Sure there are other good scenes, done well, but nothing worth mentioning. Well, scratch that, naked women workin in a drug lab was an eye-opening scene.
Denzel Washington won the Oscar when he portrayed the crooked cop in Training Day who said "My Man" all the time. Well, in the American Gangster you got him saying this line again, and by God does he have it down. There are scenes when you know he's gonna say it, and he still pulls it off incredibly well. Denzel is one actor you really never have to worry about it in the acting department. You've got Russell "Mr. Oscar" Crowe playing the other lead, and like always, he always has the character down. He was great in this flick, the accent, the mannerisms, all of it. Though, his character's story was interesting in that he was in charge of the case to figure out who the big boy druglords were, his side story with his wife was for me the "dull" parts of the film. They were well-acted and all that, but mostly, it was just character development that isn't needed. Russell Crowe's good enough an actor to portray a struggling cop without a family problem. And also let me say Josh Brolin as the crooked cop was great. I didn't need a side-story of him doing tons of drugs and banging prostitutes....but ya know he was doing it.
American Gangster was a really good flick. It had amazing acting mixed with scenes that shed a new light on drug-trafficking....or should I say Old light. Though since there are so many other drug/crime cop films out there it seems a little been there done that. But don't let that sway you if you enjoy good movies and or crime films. And also, Frank Lucas is one hell of an interesting personality. My man. 8.5 outta 10
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