'Gangster' Misfires

Glibness drains power from the true tale of a Harlem criminal genius

Review C+

November 02, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

American Gangster, the story of real-life 1960s Harlem super-criminal Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), wants to be The Godfather, Serpico and that blaxploitation cult classic, Across 110th Street, wrapped into one Superfly chinchilla coat.

It plays like a deluxe network-TV miniseries edited to be seen in a single sitting, but with all the nudity, profanity and gore the networks would cut out. The human drama takes a back seat to rise-and-fall criminal milestones that occur every 15 minutes.

American Gangster (Universal) Starring Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe. Directed by Ridley Scott. Rated R. Time 157 minutes.

Online

See more photos and watch a preview of American Gangster at baltimoresun.com/americangangster

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