Based on a true story. Now it could go either way with those words. Either it adds depth making an incredible story fantastic. Or it’s just pasted onto an inferior product making a mediocre store mildly interesting. This time out the true story is about Frank Grimes the 70 Harlem drug lord. Now, gangster family films have been served more ways than eggs and it’s tempting to think there might be an original story left to be told. Well, there’s not.
However that doesn’t mean to say you can’t still make it an interesting story. One kind of cool fact is that the real Richie Roberts and Frank Lucas were major consultants to the director Ridley Scott.
The plot revolves two of Hollywood’s most charismatic leading men doing the ol’ drug king vs. honest cop thing. Denzel plays Frank Lucas; the smart subdued black man trying to get in on the white mans drug trade. It’s the 70’s and the Vietnam War is the perfect smuggling ring to make some serious cash. He’s good to his family and you’re definitely rooting for him. Then there’s the growly Russell Crow playing one of the very few honest cops in the world.
While it’s a good ending and the ‘true story’ angle is nice; sadly, this is just another movie that falls into the ‘fine if you’re desperate for an (insert genre here) movie’. But coming in at just under three hours you’re better off watching a Soprano’s marathon.