Tuesday, February 19, should have been a great day for HD DVD fans because it marked the release of American Gangster. This movie was one of the bigger titles that would help shake us all out of the dry spell that begain weeks earlier. I was preparing to post this review then, but the news in the world of HD DVD was overshadowed by Toshiba’s announcement that they would discontinue their line of HD DVD players.
Since that day, many people have either decided to sell off their HD DVD players and movie collections, or keep them around while they bide their time until getting a Blu-ray player. People staying “red” in any way at all have at least a few months of interesting HD DVD titles ahead, and it’s movies like American Gangster that make it easier to put off that potentially inevitable Blu-ray adoption.
American Gangster has a ton of things going for it, and there’s little surprise that it’s such an eagerly awaited title on HD DVD. Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe star in this Ridley Scott directed movie about the rise and fall of Frank Lucas, a real-life 1970s Harlem druglord who outdid the Mafia, and Richie Roberts, the police officer who brought him down.
The scenes alternate between following Lucas’s rise to power and the establishment of his empire, and the parallel story about super ethical police officer Roberts facing his own issues in life, while he’s on the trail of an unknown criminal mastermind. Neither figure knows about the other until later in the movie, and you’re along for the ride as these two worlds literally crash into each other. (more…)