Hoodlum "Lawrence Fishburn"
A ambitious gangster movie, Hoodlum aspires to be a kind of Harlem-based equivalent to The Godfather, and while it falls short of that lofty goal it's still got plenty of qualities to make it well worth seeing. It's the first film to tell the story of Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson (charismatically played by Laurence Fishburne), an ex-convict who dominated the Harlem numbers racket during the 1930s and '40s. As he rises to power he gains equally powerful enemies, including hotheaded Bronx gangster Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth) and the suave mobster Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia). Determined to defend his Harlem turf against these invaders, Bumpy eclipses the "policy queen" Stephanie St. Clair (Cicely Tyson) and becomes a self-styled Robin Hood figure, attracting the attention of a community servant (Vanessa Williams) who must confront the brutality of Bumpy's business. A must-see for anyone who likes gangster movies, Hoodlum is certainly not a masterpiece, but sharp performances and some powerful scenes make it an interesting look at a little-known chapter in criminal history.
DVD & VHS
Rated:R Not for sale to persons under age 18.
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