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Nobody used to notice Frank Lucas (Oscar® winner Washington), the quiet driver to one of the inner city's leading black crime bosses. But when his boss suddenly dies, Frank exploits the opening in the power structure to build his own empire and create his own version of the American Dream. Through ingenuity and a strict business ethic, he comes to rule the inner-city drug trade, flooding the streets with a purer product at a better price. Lucas outplays all of the leading crime syndicates and becomes not only one of the city's mainline corrupters, but part of its circle of legit civic superstars.
Richie Roberts (Oscar® winner Crowe) is an outcast cop close enough to the streets to feel a shift of control in the drug underworld. Roberts believes someone is climbing the rungs above the known Mafia families and starts to suspect that a black power player has come from nowhere to dominate the scene. Both Lucas and Roberts share a rigorous ethical code that sets them apart from their own colleagues, making them lone figures on opposite sides of the law. The destinies of these two men will become intertwined as they approach a confrontation where only one of them can come out on top.
So we now know that Ridley Scott saw The Departed, because he’s making his own version of it, and it’s called American Gangster. Ridley’s been in something of a lull lately. Actually, lull is too polite. He’s been making a big pile of shit. The guy’s last three movies have all been varying stages of awful. If he were Brett Ratner that’d be acceptable but this is Ridley fucking Scott we’re talking about here. Black Hawk Dawn, Gladiator, Thelma and Louise, Blade Runner, Alien Ridley Scott. You know what, I’ll even throw G.I. Jane on the list. It’s a lot better than it gets credit for.
But it’s been a few years since we’ve seen that Ridley and he has to know it. Is ripping off Scorsese really the way to get back to being badass? You know what, maybe it is. Similar to Departed it may be, but American Gangster has Denzel and the trailers look awesome. There’s nothing like a good, cliché gangster movie to clean out your pipes when they’ve been full of crap. American Gangster is going to unclog Ridley’s drain and I can’t wait.