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Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on half-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members of an East L.A. gang known as the "Vatos Locos", and the story focuses on how a violent crime and the influence of narcotics alter their lives. Miklo is incarcerated and sent to San Quentin, where he makes a "home" for himself. Cruz becomes an exceptional artist, but a heroin addiction overcomes him with tragic results. Paco becomes a cop and an enemy to his "carnal", Miklo. Written by
Based on the real life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, Bound By Honor covers two decades in the latter half of the 20th century as seen through the eyes of half brothers Benjamin Bratt and Jesse Borrego and their cousin Damian Chapa. Growing up more or less together, all three start out as gang bangers, but each has a different destiny and in many ways one's destiny is caused by the actions of the others.
Borrego gets injured in a gang retaliation and works hard to not become a cripple. He does however become both a painter of note and a drug addict of considerable appetite. A tragedy there sets him and Bratt apart.
Bratt also winds up in a feud with Chapa. When both were young gang bangers and looking to retaliate for Borrego, Bratt and Chapa are arrested. Because this was Bratt's first offense he got a choice of the military or jail time and he chose the Marines. Chapa however was sent to prison, to San Quentin to be precise where he joined the Chicano prison gang La Onda. Pretty soon Chapa is high in the gang councils and deep in the politics of the prison. Bratt in the meantime joins the LAPD and destiny makes these two collide.
Bound By Honor has an epic quality almost a kind of Chicano Gone With The Wind. The mostly Hispanic cast do a great job in depicting life in the Barrio. The film runs just about three hours and it's a tribute to director Taylor Hackford that your interest doesn't flag for a minute.
Hackford also creates many interesting supporting characters two numerous to mention, always the mark of a good film. But your interest is always in the three leads. You get to care about what is to become of them, what destiny has in store.
There are certain similarities between Bound By Honor and the Edward James Olmos film, American Me. Personally I give a slight edge to this one, don't miss it if it is broadcast.
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