The last thirty minutes of American Gangster are absolutely terrific. It’s just the first one hundred and twenty-seven that’s the problem. My number one complaint about Sir Ridley Scott’s New York City crime epic is that it kept reminding me of other, oftentimes better movies. The scene at the mansion is straight from Carlito’s Way, the scene at the pool cabana is straight from Prince of the City, the mafia expert’s dismissal of African-American crime lords is straight from Across 110th St., the naked chicks mixing drugs are straight from New Jack City, the lone honest cop is straight out of Serpico. American Gangster is a sterling piece of unessential filmmaking. A well-played retread of something you’ve seen many times before.

Read the rest of my review at UGO.