Hoodlum

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MGM Released 1997

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Movie Summary

Director:
Bill Duke
Released:
1997
Rating:
R
Hoodlum is a 1997 crime film about 1930's Harlem and the mob wars going on between Black, Irish, and Italian gangsters. The film stars Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Vanessa Williams, and Andy Garcia. The film follows Bumpy Johnson (Fishburne), an African American crime boss who specializes in running numbers. Dutch Schultz (Roth) is an Irish mobsters hell-bent on taking over Bumpy's territories. Lucky Luciano (Garcia) is the head of the Italian mob family and controls the largest area of New York City. It is when Dutch over steps his bounds and goes against the will of the other families that an all out mob war breaks out between Bumpy's gang and Dutch's. Blood is spilled around every corner and there is nowhere in Harlem that is safe. But when the violence hits a little too close to home, Bumpy decides it's time to take out Dutch and his evil business tactics once and for all.

Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Duke and his screenwriter, Chris Brancato, don't make Hoodlum into a violent action film, though it has its bloody shoot-outs, but into more of a character study.

  • 70

    Variety Leonard Klady

    Director Bill Duke renders the period saga with passion, but lacks the sort of fluid, organic style the material requires; the film falls short of its aim for mythic proportion. St...

  • 50

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    And while Mr. Duke's direction has visual panache, the movie is unevenly paced.

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    Themes

    Historical, Crime