November 28, 2007
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American Gangster

Guest reviewer: Jan Freeh

Dialogue: Frank Lucas: That's a clown suit. That's a costume, with a big sign on it that says "Arrest me". You understand? You're too loud, you're making too much noise. Listen to me, the loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.

Detective Richie Roberts: [explaining why the mob will testify against Lucas] In addition to the fact that they hate you personally, there's the fact that they hate what you represent.

Frank Lucas: I don't represent nothing but Frank Lucas. Detective Richie Roberts: A successful black man like yourself? You represent progress. A progress which will un-glue their world. With you behind bars everything can go back to normal.

Review: American Gangster is a movie about Frank Lucas, a real-life crime boss in Harlem in the late sixties and early seventies. He made millions in dealing heroin on the streets of New York and New Jersey.

Lucas cut out the middleman in the heroin trade, by going to the source- Southeast Asia. He went to Bangkok, Thailand and Hue, Vietnam to obtain the heroin(all this taking place during the Vietnam War). Soldiers were involved in setting up the contacts and the heroin was shipped back on military plane military posts like Fort Bragg.

Frank's life was a typical rags to riches story. He grew up in LaGrange, North Carolina spent some time in Tennessee, and was a truck driver in Wilson, North Carolina before making it as a crime boss and drug lord in Harlem. (The movie makes a big deal about his being from Greensboro, NC- not true.)

Frank Lucas brought his five brothers to New York, set them up in business; and, yes their businesses were a conduit for the heroin trade. He also provided for his mother and married a beautiful puerto rican woman. What a guy and a life! Right?

The movie stars Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, one of the greatest actors of his generation, in my opinion. Denzel should be nominated for best actor as Frank Lucas. (All the ladies love Denzel, including me.)

Russell Crowe plays Richie Roberts, the cop and later prosecutor who goes after Lucas. Russell does a great job as Roberts showing his usual intensity and dedication to the role. The real-life Roberts is involved with Frank throughout his life.

See this movie. Three parachutes.

Inside information on American Gangster

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