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American Gangster [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Ridley Scott directs this biopic of 1970s Harlem drug baron Frank Lucas. When his boss dies, underworld driver Lucas (Denzel Washington) seizes his chance and begins to build his own criminal empire. Utilising the bodies of dead US soldiers, Lucas begins importing heroin direct from South-East Asia, increasing purity on the street, and undercutting his rivals in one swoop. Before long he's amassed a fortune, bringing him to the attention of maverick policeman Ritchie Roberts (Russell Crowe), an honest cop in an otherwise corrupt force, who makes it his business to shut Lucas down.
A slow burning, yet entirely gripping, mobster film, American Gangster pits Denzel Washingtons Frank Lucas against Russell Crowes law enforcer Richie Roberts. Spread over a necessarily prolonged running time, their story is then brutally, expertly, told.
And while American Gangster isnt in the league of prime Scorsese and Coppolla classics (such as Goodfellas and The Godfather), its the nearest weve come in quite some time to something of that ilk. Its all based on a true story, which does mean you need to forgive it some of its obvious narrative conventions, yet this also lends it a gravitas that the film eagerly makes the most of.
Its great too to see British director Ridley Scott tackling meatier material again. This is the man, after all, who gave us Blade Runner, Alien and Gladiator, and he duly delivers with American Gangster. His finest work it isnt, but an engrossing, explosive and hard-as-nails drama it absolutely is.
Whats more, American Gangster is powered by two of the finest leading men working in Hollywood right now, and its terrific to see Washington and Crowe on top form here. And while in cinematic terms its hardly a film that treads new ground, its nonetheless a proper, grown-up and engrossing movie, and a very good one at that. --Jon Foster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Whilst there are significant detail differences in the 'story', overall it is not unlike the earlier classic film 'The French Connection' in the sense that we have a policeman who becomes almost infatuated with tracking-down a single 'personality' in involved in local illegal drug dealings. It is certainly not like other 'gangster' movie classics such as 'Goodfellas' or 'The Godfather', despite many reviews mentioning them in the same breath as this film, if for no other reason than those other classics focussed entirely on the criminals and their personal lives.
The biggest similarity between this film and the FC is that the respective gangsters are both ruthless yet almost classy in their demeanour and the policemen are both rather shambling yet strangely effective; the one difference being that Richards is (almost) completely 'legitimate' and honest, as well us getting to know a lot about his personal life (eg failed marriage, law education), whereas 'Popeye' in the FC often transgresses and all we ever see of him is while he is 'on the job'.Read more ›
As other reviwers have noted, it's a long film, but one that keeps the viewer hooked right to the end. From being a film purchased for no other reason than it was cheap AG has gone straight into my 'keeper' section and I can't really offer a higher recommendation than that!
Weighing in at almost 3 hours (extended edition) one could be forgiven for thinking that American Gangster would be a bit of a drag but no, it moves along quite nicely pacing out the action against the story. The story itself is very hard to believe in the end but it's Hollywood vs facts again. Crowe and Washington, as always, deliver the goods even though they aren't onsceen together too much (no DeNiro/Pacino moment really). One of Ridley's greatest (no mean feat!).
Audio: English DTS HD master; French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese DTS surround
Subs: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Trad Mandarin
Denzel really gives, in my opinion, his best performances since Training Day (complete with all the usual facial expressions!) which is superbly balanced by the equally praiseworthy role played by Russell Crowe, who always seems to take his performance up by a few notches when working with Ridley Scott. I won’t give any of the plot away, but will simply say this is a must watch!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
based on a true story, it's a really good film with the original cat and mouse story very well done by Mr Tony Scott directing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by sick note