Monday, November 5, 2007

Scott, American Gangster

This is undoubtedly a noteworthy flick, full of the requisite shotguns and sledgehammers that we expected. The ending was solid, as is the tendency for movies based on true stories, probably because there's nothing "unrealistic" for you to complain about if the events actually happened. Russell Crowe has swagger for weeks as the tough Jewish cop that can't be bought, and Denzel brings it as a entrepreneurial gangster that works the supply side to undercut the competition in true OG fashion.

However, this movie is not another mob classic, mainly because the rest of the characters were afterthoughts. Also, some of the side story lines, especially those with Crowe's character, were too predictable. They came off as reaching to develop the character instead of just telling the story. This would be OK if the movie was under two hours, but any time a movie is 2 and a half hours plus, every scene needs to be critical, and every second of screen time needs to be scrutinized.

Nevertheless, you definitely ought see this movie for two reasons:

1) The rapper TI plays Denzel's nephew, a pitching phenom who lacks direction. It's ironic to see TI in a movie about gangsters because he was just arrested for buying illegal assault weapons. He's not a bad actor considering his primary profession of rapping, but seeing him on screen gave me a chuckle every time.

2) It reaffirms one of Hollywood's biggest moral values these days: you cannot kill animals. Killing human beings seems to be OK, especially if they've talked behind your back or called you names, but shooting an animal is a grave error. I don't want to give anything away, but one of the characters ends up shooting a dog towards the end of the movie, and let's just say that he gets his just deserts.

Rated 8/10 on imdb.com (you also can check out my vote history if you'd like).