Mobsters: The Evil Empire Review

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The story of four kids who grow up to be mob heavies Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Frank Costello.


In 1988, a group of Hollywood's bright young things saddled up and got to pretend they were cowboys in Young Guns. Three years on, the newest breed of teenage heartthrobs have got the opportunity to fulfill that other schoolboy fantasy - to play at being gangsters. Like Young Guns which was spun around the legend of Billy The Kid, Mobsters is "loosely" based on events that did actually happen to four young men (Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Frank Costello), who from 1917 to 1931 changed the face of organized crime.

Luciano (Slater) and Lansky (Dempsey) were the brains of the operation, while Siegel (Grieco) was the gun-toting ladies man and Costello (Mandylor) the brawn. Together, they went up against the two Mob bosses of New York - Don Faranzano (a rather miscast Michael Gambon) and Don Masseria (Anthony Quinn plus a large amount of body padding). Cue a few shootings and some rather violent stabbings (including one knife through the head) to prove that the boys are men, and the obligatory love scene between Slater and red-wigged dancer

Lara Flynn Boyle as a brief respite from the more pressing "business". But the plot isn't really important. This is a group of young actors clearly having a good time amid a hail of bullets and Mafia movie cliches (there's even the spinning newspapers as a background to the four firing guns), and although things like character development are sometimes lost in the crossfire (as is Lara Flynn Boyle's role, which is chronically underdeveloped), the lead actors have enough charm to sustain the film.

Essentially an entertaining but not particularly thought-provoking bridge between the spoof Mob movies like Bugsy Malone and the real McCoy like The Godfather or Goodfellas.