Hoodlum Blu-ray Review
There’s a reason “Hoodlum” is barely talked about in the gangster film genre.
Set in Depression era Harlem, “Hoodlum” revolves around the business of an illegal lottery known as “The Numbers.” In Harlem, this profitable racket is run by Madame Queen, but the crazed Jewish gangster Dutch Schultz wants to cut into their business. To make a long story short, Bumpy Johnson winds up becoming a major part of Madame’s crew, Dutch and company become increasingly more violent, and Dutch’s partner (Italian gangster Lucky Luciano) becomes involved in the conflict.
Despite boasting a fascinating period piece story based on some truth (keyword some), “Hoodlum” is let down by, well, a lot of things. In addition to the poorly written script (seriously, the dialogue in this movie is largely atrocious), Director Bill Duke’s film is littered with odd editing, poorly staged action, a score that doesn’t fit, some genuinely over-the-top acting (see Tim Roth), bad pacing, tedious drama, and more than a few moments that feel lifted off of superior gangster films. It’s simply not a well made movie that has only gotten worse with age.
On the plus side, there are a few elements that save it from being a complete misfire. First and foremost, the production values are pretty amazing. The sets, costumes, and cars look and feel authentic here which is key. Secondly, there are a couple of strong performances here including Laurence Fishburne (Bumpy Johnson) and Andy Garcia (Lucky Luciano).
Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Generally a stellar transfer, but there are dirt specs and scratches present.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD. How does it sound? A solid audio track, but it doesn’t sound like a 5.1 track.
The only extra is a “Hoodlum” trailer.
Overall Thoughts: It’s a shame “Hoodlum” never pans out as there is so much potential for a good movie here.
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