This period gangster picture attempts to do for 1930s Harlem and real-life numbers impresario Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson (Laurence Fishburne) what the GODFATHER trilogy did for the Mafia, but director Bill Duke undermines it at every turn, shifting tone
from morality tale to comedy to straight-out action. Newly released from Sing Sing, Bumpy heads right back into business with Harlem numbers queen Stephanie St. Clair (Cicely Tyson), who's trapped in a turf war with the ruthless Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth). Bumpy's conflict resolution strategy:
Declare full-scale war on Schultz and his minions. The escalating battle of attrition reveals the brutality and fundamental ...