Directed: Ridley Scott
Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe
Denzel plays Frank Lucas, the top gangster in 70s Harlem, who is being investigated and pursued by the incorruptible NJ cop, the insane Russell Crowe. Through the course of the movie, Frank sets up his empire, going from a bodyguard for an older Harlem crime boss who dies, to sourcing and importing heroin from Vietnam, to becoming a massive crime and drug lord, and then finally turning informant after he’s caught by Crowe and his squad. Josh Brolin is also in this movie, portraying a crooked NYC cop that ultimately helps capture Frank after unsuccessfully trying to shake him down and sporting his huge pornstache.
The violence in this movie is sporadic and somewhat sparse, but excellent when it does happen. The pacing reminds me a lot of the Sopranos…very slow and almost flat in places, punctuated by sudden bursts of explosions and gunshots. My favorite scene involves Russell Crowe’s cracked out partner going nuts and jumping out of a moving ambulance. Just say no, kids!
This movie holds up with some of the great mob movies of all-time. It doesn’t have a huge cast of memorable characters, but crazy Russell Crowe is excellent and Denzel is great, as always. I definitely recommend it if you have a pulse and/or like heroin.
Rating: Five Stars out of five.