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4.3 out of 5 stars
Mr. Untouchable
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2008
I purchased this along with "Superfly: The Frank Lucas Story" This was a great DVD and brings alot to the table. I saw "American Gangster" and found the subject very interesting yet could not help but feel that I was not getting the "real deal" and only some convoluted Hollywood version of the truth. Like many Hollywood "Based on a True Story" movies, the subjects are interesting in their own right, yet filmmakers feel the need to embellish. I was not there but the people in this DVD were! They all have alot to contribute to this interesting tale. I heard Nicky Barnes interviewed on Howard Stern recently and found him to be a very compelling and interesting person. I can't say that I agree with his choices or lifestyle but his interview and the DVD gave me some very interesting things to think over.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2009
Mr. Untouchable (2007) tells an interesting Harlem and inner city
story, through the eyes and minds of the most powerful and
influential gang members of the time, now quiet and retired
old-timers. They reminisce on life as it was back in the 1970's
and early 80's, for them, explaining it to the audience in an
understandable and personalized manner, making this film quite
unique.

The ring leader provides a narrative over the entire length of the
movie, a lot of Polaroids, coupled with a remarkable soundtrack
(made up of perhaps over a 100 audio numbers) demonstrating the
vast thought and effort in assembling it. Law enforcement also
comments on various events, from their angle.

Here, the failings of human beings are made clear. The errors of
judgment, naivete in face of the law, the struggle in balancing
logic and feelings of jealousy, vengeance, addiction to
narcotics, the drive and need for power, sexual domination, wealth
and influence in a particular community. The human ego influence
outcomes unpredictably time and again.

Here, Nick Barnes' narcotics empire (based in New York) is
recounted, from selling powder in "quarters" (spoonfuls) for $70
(coke or heroin), the wholesale origin from the mob, the
distribution end on various inner city corners (often grossing
$10k - $15k), "cutting" amounts, shoeboxes of cash ( $1 or $2
million USD), rubouts, rival gang conflicts, double crossings,
vicious and bloody murders, night clubs, gold watches, expensive
jewelry, luxury automobiles, confidential informants, wiretaps,
the method of organization of the racket, and more - it's all
here.

Barnes' demise is brought about faster, in part, from a higher
public profile, through the mass media.

Barnes summarizes the modus operendi of dealers as selecting
"whomever has the best powder and the best power" in the ghetto.
Those at the top of the hierarchy, in this case, work hard also in
eliminating the middle man, to maximize profits and reduce costs
and complications, such that sales reach as high as $72 million
USD per year.

While maintaining a positive public image in the community through
public events and promotions, gifts, donations to the point of
being idolized more than the best athlete, Barnes behind the
scenes is the ultimate competitor. His policy is vicious, ends
justifying the means, a winning at all costs psychology.

At the same time, the USA's number of addicts already reaching 1
million people, expands by 100k to 200k per annum, from cultural
and social pressures making narcotics fashionable.

Barnes explains the paradox of rolling over with anyone's natural
ability, tendency or propensity to adapt to their environment, in
which a belief system of values, rewards and penalties is laid
out, as far as behaviors being accepted or rejected. In this case,
the rage and jealousy of his mistress, empire and wealth
benefitting his partners while he's locked up with a life sentence
is too much to bear.

Finally, an obvious element are the consequences of being
pigeon-holed in a lifestyle, almost as if wearing blinds and being
dragged into gangland rubouts of many victims, many of them
innocent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2010
A very interesting, well made documentary about the main heroin dealer in Brooklyn during the late 60's & 70's. He put over 85 people in Prison who betrayed him while he was in Prison himself. Its hard to judge him due to him just reacting to being stabbed in the back himself. He made 9.2 million a month, very well done. Also proves the movie "American Gangster" is a completely fabricated movie and how the phrase "Based on a True Story" can be false entirely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2008
Humor: 2
Blood: photos of murders
Nudity: 1, topless chick in a photo
Minutes FF'ed thru: none
Overall rating: 4
Memorable quotes:
Barnes: "Hey Nick, you broken the Golden Rule. And I say, what good is a rule if the rule ain't a jewel that's fit for the crown of the king, if you goin take the rule and just use it to make bling and you goin say f**k the king, then the king goin sing."

Nicky Barnes aka Mr. Untouchable was one of the most notorious drug lords in upstate New York in the 70's. He went from a user to a kingpin, taking whatever he wanted by any means necessary. After years of growing and grooming his empire, and beating several cases, which is what labeled him Mr. Untouchable, he was caught and sentenced to life in prison. From the inside, he continued to run his organization, but with incompetent leaders, things started going bad. The final straw is when one of his boys started messing with his girl, so he decided the best revenge was to snitch and take the empire down. This resulted in 75 felony cases and after 21 years in prison, he was released under witness protection. He did have feelings of guilt for breaking the street code, but it was more about his family's disrespect, and their failure to recognize their place, where they came from, and how they got there.

This was a pretty good documentary told through the narration of Barnes and people in the inner circle. If you like gangster docs, check out Gangster King: Raymond Lee Washington and Gang War: Bangin' in Little Rock.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2008
Nicky Barnes is the truth. He lived his life by a code. He lived his life by an oath of loyalty that he made to his brothers. What happens when you're betrayed by the ones whom you put your trust into. What happens when the people who you kept it real with don't keep it real with you? This book is on point and unravels the circumstances surrounding one question that a lot of people want to know the answer to. Why did Nicky Barnes snitch? It's often said that getting revenge is the best feeling in the world. In Mr. Barnes case I'd have to agree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2012
This is a good DVD that chronicles the life and rise in the drug game of Nicky Barnes, who appeared on The New York Times magazine cover at the height of his heroin empire with the title MR. UNTOUCHABLE. Not a smooth move on his part as a criminal investigation prompted by the magazine cover, which was seen by President Jimmy Carter, ensued. But Nicky Barnes was an intriguing and mesmerizing figure as his portrayal by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the American Gangster film showed. There is rumored to be an offshoot movie starting Cuba Gooding Jr as Nicky Barnes in the works. There is also a book out by the same title and Nicky Barnes was interviewed and his story profiled in F.E.D.S. magazine also. But check out the DVD it is nice and tells his story and was directed by the famous director producer Marc Levine. The DVD captures the story perfectly and also is a good look at the era when New York city was a virtual crime zone and open air drug market for Nicky's heroin brand
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2008
If you seen any real interview footage of Frank Lucas or if you seen the "Charlie Rose" show with Frank Lucas on it,then you will know that Denzel Washingston's portrayal of him was a frabrication and actors lie, and you would know that the producers and writers of the film "American Gangster" wrote and produce a lie that was really based on Leroy "Nickey" Barnes. Nickey Barnes documentary is the truth and if you want more truth get the book written by Bumpy Johnson's widow Mayme Johnson. American Gangster was a Blockbuster lie check the public record.
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The real star of the film is Barnes, who shines in his interviews: he's menacing but charming, erudite but ruthless. He matter of factly discourses on the `terminate or be terminated' aspect of the drug trade. Another aspect of this documentary is that it NEVER condescends, with silly anti-drug messages. It allows Barnes to be see, good and bad, and let the viewer decide if he's a hero, a thug, or both. Interestingly, many negative reviews of the film excoriate it for exactly this excellent tack. Brain dead moralism, it seems, never goes out of fashion for some wannabe critics. What these critics never seem to attack is the outrageous waste of taxpayer money that is the infamously failed Drug War. If the stuff were not illegal, guys like Barnes would not exist. It's the illegality, in the face of a high demand, that causes the problem; not to mention the Federal government's own involvement in propping up the drug trade in Third World Countries as an economic force against, first, communism, and, now, Islamofascism. The real thugs are not the Barneses of the world, who were just slick operators in a system they inherited, but the framers of the system that has kept a majority of black and other minority youth from realizing their full potential.

And, the thing is, if one heads into this documentary with no knowledge of the drug trade, and an open mind, one will come away thinking how heinous and narrow-minded the Feds are, because this film relentlessly shows these flaws in the often smug cops who, it's obvious, would much rather have been Barnes than convict him. Any work of art that can do that is achieving something rare. And credit must go to director Levin, cinematographer Henry Adebonojo, and editor Emir Lewis for a terrific piece of cinema that draws one in from the get go and never lets go. Mr. Untouchable may have been a perfect appellation for Barnes and this film about him, but untouchable is not a term to describe this film, for it touches on Barnes and things beyond, like few films in its genre, and with this subject ever have. It is deep, profound, daring, provocative, and, well....great. And if you need any more reason than that to see it, then you don't understand nor care for art.
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on April 5, 2014
Extremely interesting subject matter, very poor filmmaking. There is no narrative structure to speak of. A skilled filmmaker would have told the story in chronological fashion, with a dramatic arc and climax, followed by the inevitable fall. Instead, it's a somewhat-random montage of vignettes that glorify the lifestyle and power of Nicky Barnes and his criminal associates. And the visuals are so cheap and lazy (sample shots: Barnes with his hands on a boardroom table and a bullet strategically placed in between; Barnes smoking a cigar with a lit fireplace in the background, etc... you get the idea). I could only get through half of the film- it could've been truly fascinating.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
got to see this film the other night and along with the Book it shows that after all of this time that Leroy Nicky Barnes still remains a very compelling figure. the film American Gangster did Nicky Barnes a large dis-service. this is the real deal as it has the man himself and former associate workers speak there peace on the Man and myth and what went down back in the day.this is so well put together and I enjoyed the bonus conversation between Nicky Barnes and frank Lucas. a must have and see.
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