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
The C-130 in the movie is actually a C-130A, with different pylon tanks and 3-bladed props. During Vietnam, C-130's were painted in a camouflage pattern. The uniform gray paint scheme was introduced in the late 1980's. 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.
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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