Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. Laurence Fishburne is one actor who has charisma to burn, but even his incendiary performance can't ignite Hoodlum, a would-be gangster epic that generates less heat than a nickel cigar. [27Aug1997 Pg 8]
  2. Hoodlum is an overlong gangster movie, a bloated and often laughable attempt at an epic.
  3. 10
    A conclusion featuring a dizzying string of betrayals that leads to a confusing anti-climax robs the film of even cheap action thrills, making Hoodlum an almost thoroughly forgettable experience, albeit probably the only film in history to unite Queen Latifah and The Mod Squad's Clarence Williams III.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Feb 25, 2013
    6
    People who have seen American Gangster or are regular viewers of the TV show, Mobsters, will know who Bumpy Johnson was and know the story behind Hoodlum. For those of you who don't, Johnson was a member of an organized crime group, in Harlem, during the 1930's. He was also the man who mentored and inspired Denzel Washington's character of Frank Lucas in American Gangster. Long before that film, the story of Bumpy Johnson was told in Hoodlum. This was one of those little told stories about the mafia that started out very strong. Unfortunately, I felt that the writers went into far too much detail at certain points in the film and by the end it was definitely dragging on. Laurence Fishburne stars as Johnson and did an adequate job, my problem with his has always been he lacks emotion in his acting. In my humble opinion this should automatically disqualify him from certain things and this probably should have been one of those things. Tim Roth is Dutch Schultz and while Schultz had a reputation for being a character, Roth went a little over the top with it, but was still very entertaining. My favorite performance was of course the one by Andy Garcia as Lucky Luciano, but he really wasn't in the film much and that's a shame, because nobody plays a crime boss better than hen does. Hoodlum is a wild ride about an incredible true story, but as a film, it was a mix of terrific scenes and some slower unnecessary elements. As a film it's not the best, but it's worth watching just for the amazing story that is being told. Full Review »