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
Frank Lucas was excited about the film; however, he admitted that only a small portion of the film was true, and that much of it was fabricated for dramatic effect. Similarly, Richie Roberts criticized the film for its inaccuracy, and said it made Lucas too noble. See more »
Before the heroin house raid Richie grabs a shotgun in the hallway, the shotgun is considered evidence and by using the shotgun, he tampered with evidence. 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.
Keeps The Viewer Involved And Interested....Well Done.
The story about Frank Lucas is one that proves fact is more interesting than fiction. The fact that such a character really did exist yet I do not remember it certainly intrigues me. I guess I was just too young at the time it broke. Now approaching my later forties finds me longing to research it further after seeing this movie.
I get the feeling Ridley Scott was amazed a person such as Frank Lucas was actually able to do what he did and live to tell about it. I certainly share that amazement. The care in which he tells the story serves it well. Though it's basically a gangster movie it's not particularly graphic in violence except in a few scenes. Even Denzel's and Russel's portrayals of the two central characters are not quite as dark as the usual more stereotypical gangster/cop persona...Still there is a sense of doom and danger ever present as the viewer knows neither law enforcement, government, or mafia will let this man's drug empire go on.
To sum it up I believe this is an excellent telling of a true crime story. It's intriguing, entertaining, and certainly serves as a cautionary reminder to remain vigilant in combating drugs.
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