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Original Gangstas (1996)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  10 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 944 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 16 critic

Marvin Bookman is a small shop owner in Gary, Indiana, USA. After he sees a drive-by shooting of Laurie Thompson's son by a local gang, he gives up the license number of the car to the ... See full summary »


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Title: Original Gangstas (1996)

Original Gangstas (1996) on IMDb 5.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Bookman
Jake Trevor
Laurie Thompson
Reverend Dorsey
Gracie Bookman
Oscar Brown Jr. ...
Marvin Bookman
Eddie Bo Smith Jr. ...
Detective Slatten
Michael Casey


Marvin Bookman is a small shop owner in Gary, Indiana, USA. After he sees a drive-by shooting of Laurie Thompson's son by a local gang, he gives up the license number of the car to the police. The gang doesn't like this so they go to the store and rough him up. Soon, John Bookman comes to town to set the wrong things right. With the help of Laurie and his old friend Jake, they attempt to take back the streets and show the new breed of gang members what the true originals can do. Written by Josh Pasnak <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The original bad boys are stepping up in '96!

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for non-stop violence and pervasive strong language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Warzone  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,800,000 (estimated)


$3,014,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When John and Jake do a drive-by at the steel mill in an attempt to start the gang war, several fires in barrels are burning. When they make their second pass, the smoke and fire can be seen going backwards, back into the barrels. See more »


John Bookman: Big talk coming from a faggot who don't even know what sex his mother is.
See more »


Features RoboCop 2 (1990) See more »


Hit the Gas
Performed by 3X Krazy
Produced by Tone Capone for Dollars & Spenc Productions
Co-Produced by One Drop Scott
Written by Tone Capone (as Anthony Gilmour), Lamore Jacks, Charles Williams, Ramone Curtis, One Drop Scott (as Scott Roberts)
Publishing: True Science Publishing (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Str8 Game Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Too much talk
7 March 2005 | by (Valencia, Spain) – See all my reviews

Original Gangstas is a pretty good film in some parts. The action sequences are pretty bad, as the shots are usually from far away and you see gun muzzle flashes that look fake and are not very convincing. People fall off buildings, but where are the close-ups of some bad guy getting shot a few times as the bullets rip through the body and the blood splatters? Most of the fight scenes are almost in pitch black lighting, so not much can be seen. It seems like a sheer miracle that anybody could get shot in the middle of dark alleys with lots of garbage dumpsters and other junk to provide cover for both sides. Original Gangstas reunites the greatest African American action stars of the 1970s, but they are hardly used. Fred Williamson was a producer and he is the only star in Original Gangstas. He spends most of the movie preaching to the neighborhood residents about fighting back against the drug gangs in Gary, Indiana (his real home town). However, the concept of middle-aged and elderly folks fighting with baseball bats against youths armed with AK-47s, Uzis, and M-16s seems like reckless advice. Some of the sillier scenes in this film have gangs attacking a shopping area and a bunch of people come out of the stores armed with bats and mop sticks and beat up the thugs who are armed with Uzis and could have mowed down the entire crowd in seconds. After various armed confrontations and shoot-outs, the thugs, hoodlums, and killers who are subdued are given a stern warning by Fred Williamson to "stop being bad" and then these criminals are told to "go home." Presumably they have been "saved." Jim Brown is in this film primarily as Fred Williamson's sidekick, which seems wrong to me. The late Ron O'Neal and the late Paul Winfield have very small roles, as does Richard Roundtree. Pam Grier at least gets a couple of good scenes. Original Gangstas has an incredible cast (including the late Isabel Sanford and Oscar Brown, Jr.) and yet this cast is pretty much wasted. With this cast, it would have been great to do an urban version of "The Dirty Dozen" or some story which used all the characters and provided a good message while providing the aging stars in nostalgic positive roles that reminded us of what had made them stars in the 1970s. Original Gangstas is an interesting movie, but you will soon see how it could have been a great film. Original Gangstas could have been like The Professionals or The Wild Bunch which both put a group aging stars together into some great roles. While Original Gangstas does not succeed in bringing one last great Hurrah to these stars, at least the effort to put them together was made. Too bad that a sorry screenplay and a pathetic director submarined their efforts.

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