Since the thirties the gangster archetype has been a powerful driving force in mainstream cinema. From classics such as “Little Ceasar” and “Public Enemy” to modern work such as “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas” there is something about watching organized crime that continues to fascinate movie goers. Despite the lasting appeal of the genre, the fact remains that since gangster films have been around for so long a great many cliches have popped up over time. Wandering into many of these cliches before providing the audience with a “surprise” ending is Jeff Profitt’s “Atlantic City Expressway”.
Andrew (Jeff Profitt) is a young man who works as a courier for his Uncle Ray (Bernard Fiscus) a small time criminal who has served as a father figure for him since his parents passed away when he was a child. Despite viewing his uncle as a positive influence on his life Andrew’s Grandmother (Sylvia Hockenbury) urges her grandson to leave Uncle Ray and his shady business practices behind. Into Andrew’s crisis of conscience emerges two figures, Lou (Tommy D Modesto) a shadowy FBI agent cryptically urging Andrew to stand by his uncle and Amy (Dorothy Mcdonald) a woman Andrew randomly meets at the beach who helps inspire him to leave his life of crime.
Despite an enthusiastic cast “Atlantic City Expressway” is too deeply rooted in genre conventions we’ve seen a thousand times before to truly impact the audience. Andrew seems too naive in regards to his lifestyle despite obvious warning signs as to his uncle’s profession and the company he keeps. The twist ending provides a nice change of pace from the typical mob story but is telegraphed too far ahead of time. “Atlantic City Expressway” is a non-offensive gangland tale but hopefully in Jeff Profitt’s next outing he will tell a story which is more his own.