Tony Montana and Manny Ribera are two Cuban immigrants who end up in Miami at a time when the drug market was a booming. Tony quickly moves up the ranks working for a high end drug cartel and before long lets money, power and greed start to take over.
Al Pacino has been around for quite awhile now, and of all the iconic roles he's given us over the years, Tony Montana is certainly one you don't forget. Pacino may be hit or miss lately, but when I really started appreciating movies, it was the early nineties and Pacino was rocking the silver screen with SCENT OF A WOMAN, HEAT, THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE and CARLITO'S WAY. People sometimes criticise as well joke about Pacino always yelling three quarters of his dialogue (not unlike Samuel L. Jackson) but for me that's always been part of his character's allure. Tony Montana is no different, but his story of greed, narcissism and power is truly something to behold on Blu-ray and certainly stands the test of time.
The only downfall to films of this nature are that we all know things will end badly for Tony, which of course they do, but no character goes out in a better blaze of glory! Pacino delivers over the top lines that might sound cheesy if voiced by someone else, but that's not the case here. I believe everything Tony Montana says, and so does everyone else in the room. There are brooding moments of insight here, particularly the final time Tony's having dinner at the restaurant. He begins to understand that there's not much left to the world when you've got everything, and that in having everything you can still have nothing at all. It's easy to look past these small tidbits as we wait for the next big line, gunfight or battle, but they're there and it's moments like these (along with Tony's harsh but strangely just moral code) that help ground this film in reality.
SCARFACE is still a hell of a lot of fun all these years later, and though it's not my favourite Pacino role, seeing him bust out that gun at the end, roll his face down in a mountain of coke and scream out "say goodnight to the bad guy" in a drunken rage are all still very much epic pieces of cinema. CARLITO'S WAY was a fantastic reunion between Pacino and director Brian De Palma, still one of my all time favourite Pacino roles and all around solid gangster flicks, but this film paved the way for that one and countless others as there's not a single person out there who can't say they've seen SCARFACE's legacy live on in pop culture at least once. This flick may not be as slick looking and up to date as HEAT or DONNIE BRASCO but make no mistake, Tony Montana is pure gold meng, and he's here to stay.