It’s funny. I like both Russel Crow and Denzel Washington, most of the time. I think this would be the first time where I’d like to have seen Crow get a bullet in the head. He was the "good guy," as defined by the state; whereas, Washington was the "bad guy" by the same definition. Problem is, Crow was a thief and thug; whereas, Washington was an honest — albeit ruthless — businessman.
I was talking with Bea afterwards, and she just couldn’t grok my 180-out perspective on the thing. But it’s really simple. Just imagine the whole scenario with the pretense and outrageous presumption of the authority of the state and the law stripped away. Just think in terms of mutual agreement between people, conscience, honesty, the golden rule. From where I sat, Washington was a man of his word, never stole a dime, and delivered the highest quality value at the lowest price.
According to the pre-credits factoids about real-life Frank Lucas at the end of the film, the state stole $250 million of money he’s earned honestly, jailed him for 15 years, and jailed 30 of his family members.