Original Gangstas (1996)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  10 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 1,099 users  
Reviews: 19 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 »


, (uncredited)


(as Aubrey Rattan)
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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. ...
Dru Down ...
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 <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

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?


The scene with the two police cars exploding is lifted directly from "RoboCop 2" - also an Orion picture. See more »


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 »


Featured in Baadasssss Cinema (2002) See more »


Hot City
Performed by Rilondra Appling, 'Code Blue' and Rio Appling
Written by Rick Appling, 'Code Blue' & Frankie Peay
Publishing by Appling Publishing/Code Blue World's Music
Produced by Rick Appling, 'Code Blue' and Frankie Peay
Courtesy of PAR Records
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User Reviews

Excellent Low Budget Action--No Matter What The Star Says
16 January 2005 | by (Bothell, Washington, Land of Rain) – See all my reviews

It has always amazed me how the star of this film, Fred Williamson, has gone to such great lengths to badmouth this flick and the work of his former friend, writer-director Larry Cohen. I've read it and I've heard it on DVD audio commentaries--"Hiring Larry for Original Gangstas was a mistake," Williamson says. Yet he has nothing but praise for his own work as a writer-director.

Is the Hammer on crack, or what? This is a very slick, very cool little low budget action flick that shows the old time stars to great advantage. Cohen did a great job. In fact, if you took all the good parts from every movie that Fred Williamson produced and directed himself and put them together, the film you'd end up with would still be 1/100th the film this one is (of course a compilation of "good parts" from Hammer's self-directed flicks would only be 15 minutes long).

I love Fred Williamson. His pre-1976 movies like "Black Caesar" and "Bucktown" are classics, and I like him as a performer. I'd LOVE to see him work in more mainstream movies, as a lead. But the man has only been in three halfway decent films in the past quarter century: "Starsky and Hutch," "From Dusk Til Dawn," and "OG." And "OG" is the best of the three in my opinion. His self produced-directed efforts, his Italian-Euro cheapazoid flicks--they ALL rank as some of the absolute worst movies of all time.

So, don't listen to the star of the show, just watch the movie. "Original Gangstas" is a solid flick.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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