Original Gangstas (1996)

"Blaxploitation" heroes Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, and Pam Grier 
reunite in ORIGINAL GANGSTAS, a rousing urban western about a trio 
of former gang members in Gary, Indiana (homicide capital of the 
country) who return to "take back the streets" after one of their 
sons is killed in a drive-by.  Played mostly straight, O.G. is a 
rousing festival of tough talk and vindictive violence.  Expect 
plenty of big words, punctuated by cracked limbs, broken jaws, and 
crushed testicles.  (Not to mention a few thousand or so rounds of 
automatic weapons fire.  Hey, this is the nineties.)  The film is 
engaging-- and, at times, inspirational-- for about an hour, until 
the gun battles begin.  They go on forever.  Williamson, Brown, and 
Grier look great these days and have a good chemistry together.   
Other familiar faces include Paul Winfield, Isabel Sanford, Richard 
"Shaft" Roundtree, and Ron "Superfly" O'Neal.  (Lest we take things 
*too* seriously, Wings Hauser is also on hand.  He plays an aide to 
the mayor.)  As much fun as this reunion is, the moral message 
behind ORIGINAL GANGSTAS is rather dubious.  Too bad that director 
Larry Cohen couldn't make a stronger statement on values.  (Rated 
"R"/98 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: May 12, 1996

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