Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007)

In the extended ‘director’s cut,’ this Ridley Scott pic still comes up short in spite of a clean, clear script from Steve Zaillian. Denzel Washington is just okay as a deceptively low-key, but ruthless drug kingpin in ‘70s Harlem. (The role seems made for Terrence Howard.) He undercuts his Mafia competitors by skipping the middleman & buying high quality drugs right from the source. Shipping comes courtesy of the U.S. military in Vietnam, but it’s endgame when the war winds down just as a Fed task force (led by a beefy Russell Crowe) closes in. Scott overreaches here, trying for too many GODFATHER moments, but his main problem remains (as ever) in mishandling the narrative line in his material. Washington runs his operation with his brothers & extended family, but we hardly get to know anyone which leaves us comfortably distanced from the situations. Same goes for Denzel’s Puerto-Rican wife. On the other side of the law, Crowe’s team of agents haven’t a character tic to chew on between them. The basic story is compelling and Scott has visual panache to spare, but he seems to miss the ironic tone of bitter, black comedy Zaillian has built into this mirror-image American dream. And, yes, MOD SQUAD fans, that really is an unbilled Clarence Williams playing Washington’s mentor Bumpy Johnson.

No comments: