Hoodlum Review

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The story of gang wars in 1930s Harlem, New York. Bumpy Johnson, the black gang leader comes into conflict with the tough Dutch Schultz over the control of the city's numbers racket.


Presumably Bill Duke and Laurence Fishburne, who worked together on the outstanding Deep Cover, were attracted to this project by the chance to fill in a bit of American gangster history, concentrating on the rise to power of Harlem racketeer Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson in the 1930s. Tim Roth and Andy Garcia also star as legendary gangsters Dutch Schultz and Lucky Luciano, Over-familiar set pieces join forces with every cliched character in the gangster book, it's overlong and stars operate well below full stretch, but Hoodlum offers enough period cars, clothes, guns and music to be acceptable entertainment.

Standard gangster fare, with too many clichés to make it really good.