Top critical review
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I don't have a wife, because emotion is dangerous.
on 17 February 2011
Under Charlie "Lucky" Luciano's reign, organised crime met peace for 15 years. This is the story of how he, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Frank Costello, came to sit at the top end of the table after forming "The Commission".
Mobsters, a film that has some where along the line attained an extra part to its title - "The Evil Empire" - is a movie that seems to consistently let down newcomers who venture into it. I'll state right from the off that I very much enjoy the film, but, and it's a big but, I'm fully aware it's hardly a shining light for the gangster genre, or even a deep and detailed historical point of reference of the four boys who grew up to be mob "legends". However, those folk who harp on about the "G" movies by Marty and Francis; using them as a point of reference, should know better, while those venturing first time into it expecting "that" type of gangster movie clearly haven't looked at the facts.
Lets examine said facts. It's directed by Michael Karbelnikoff, who? Exactly. It stars Christian Slater (Luciano), Patrick Dempsey (Lansky), Richard Grieco (Siegel) & Costas Mandylor (Costello). Collectively they were at the time known for what? 21 Jump Street, 80s teen romances and 80s edgy angst. Hardly a roll call of actors about to take the gangster genre to greater heights is it? True, the film does offer hope by having the good pros Michael Gambon & Anthony Quinn as the two waring bosses about to be given a stern life lesson from the young upstarts, but at the time of Mobsters' release Gambon was still a fledgling name and Quinn was doing films like Ghosts Can't Do It & Only The Lonely!
After 1988 had seen the then current Brat Pack of Sheen, Estevez, Sutherland et al take on the Western genre with Young Guns, it was kind of inevitable, given that film's success (and its Slater starring sequel in 1990) that a young spunkier foray into gangster land would follow. And here it is in the fun, violent and semi-fictitious Mobsters. While Young Guns is no Magnificent Seven, and did the same Mobster hating crowd expect that also? So Mobsters is no "G" film either. The young cast work hard and enjoy themselves, with Grieco really looking the part in what was his first film. While F. Murray Abraham, Chris Penn and Lara Flynn-Boyle also feature; even if all are underdeveloped and in the case of Flynn-Boyle, a victim of one of those cheese laden slow-mo sex scenes!
If not expecting something too serious then this is a decent treatment of the legend of Luciano and Meyer etc. Over the top performances (Gambon/Quinn) blend with the watchable (Slater/Dempsey play off), and the manic (Nicholas Sadler as Mad Dog Coll) to leave an entertaining film that really wasn't trying to be one of those "G" films in the first place. 6.5/10