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Hoodlum

Hoodlum ★★½ Gangster; Hoods 1996 (R)

Highly fictionalized tale of ‘30s gangster “Bumpy” Johnson (Fishburne, reprising his role from “The Cotton Club”), who refuses to allow Dutch Schultz (Roth) and Lucky Luciano (Garcia) to muscle into the Harlem numbers rackets. Duke makes the proceedings nice to look at, and does well by the eclectic cast, but the uneven screenplay occasionally lets everybody down, especially during the cheesy time-passage montage (complete with Tommy Gun fire and flipping calendar pages). Roth is ruthless as ever and Garcia is smooth as ever. But it's definitely Fish-burne's show, as he explores Johnson's professional triumphs and the personal toll they take. Fishburne previously worked with director Duke on “Deep Cover.” Singer Michael McCary from Boyz II Men makes his film debut as an explosives expert. 130m/C VHS, DVD . Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Andy Garcia, Vanessa L(ynne) Williams, Cicely Tyson, Clarence Williams III, William Atherton, Chi McBride, Richard Bradford, Loretta Devine, Queen Latifah, Paul Benjamin, Mike Starr, Beau Starr, Joe Guzaldo, Ed O'Ross; D: Bill Duke; W: Chris Brancato; C: Frank Tidy; M: Elmer Bernstein.

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