Sunday, February 24, 2008

American Gangster on DVD

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe butt heads in the excellent crime drama, American Gangster. The film, based on a true crime story has, in addition to superb acting, excellent cinematography, interesting sets, and the hard-hitting direction by Ridley Scott.

This is an adult crime thriller with powerful dialogue and shocking images you won’t soon forget. The special features on the bonus disk are very entertaining and extremely beneficial for their historical value. The added 18 minutes include longer scenes and an extended ending.

Frank Lucas (born 1930 in Washington, DC), was a heroin dealer and organized crime boss in Harlem during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was particularly known for cutting out middlemen in the drug trade and buying heroin directly from his source in Southeast Asia. He organized the smuggle of heroin from Vietnam to the US by using the coffins of dead American servicemen ("cadaver connection"). Excerpt from the New York Magazine, 14 August 2000.

But the story of Frank Lucas (Washington) is much more than just a gangster who takes over the New York mob trade with some devious methods. It’s also about a relentless, righteous cop, Ritchie Roberts (Crowe), who will stop at nothing to bring him down. When their worlds collide, the two find themselves in a confrontation with no chance of backing out.

Crowe as the persistent cop, and Washington as the relentless drug king pin, are excellent together. Crowe brings his tough, unforgiving persona to the role of Roberts. While other cops think he’s a sucker for not taking mob money, it’s this ethic that keeps him going on his quest to bring down the mob. Nothing stands in the way of Roberts, and Crowe makes him believable. Washington does what he does best—shows the burning side of his character. Much like his past performances in films such as Training Day, Man On Fire and Déjà Vu, his Lucas controls the screen with a hot temperament and a strong will.

Keeping the action going, with not a stretch or a yawn in the lengthy film, director Ridley Scott is back in true form from his early days of Blade Runner, Thelma And Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. I like this side of Scott. I believe he makes better films when the subject matter is powerful and the pace is intense.

DVD Features:

Topping the special features are the Case Files. In them you will find three bonuses, “Setting up the take down", “Testing for heroin", and “Script meeting". Of the three I enjoyed the take down where they bust Lucas’s heroin den. It was interesting to see how it was filmed and Crowe kidding around on the set.

Of the other features, "Tru Blu" was outstanding. In it you will get to meet the still-living Richie Roberts and Frank Lucas, and hear what they have to say about the film’s authenticity and their role in collaboration.

There are two ways you can watch American Gangster, the R rated film version and the extended, Unrated film. Either way, the film plays well, but why not see it with the 18 additional minutes?Charles Tyrwhitt Coupons and Discount Codes

FINAL ANALYSIS:
American Gangster is a very good, all-encompassing crime film containing a lot of action, an interesting plot and awesome acting. The special features are definitely worth the watch.

Reviewed by John Delia

No comments:

Post a Comment