Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on step-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members...
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Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on step-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.
Paulo Tocha was once in a gang himself, he turned his life around to become a professional muy Thai fighter. See more »
Miklo had two parole hearings, supposedly several years apart, but all the members of the parole board are wearing the same outfits and sitting in the same places for both hearings. See more »
I may be white from the outside, but I'm brown on the inside, TO THE BONE.
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During the end credits we see helicopter shots of Los Angeles. The movie ends with shots of the big tree (pina). See more »
The American Directors Cut DVD contains the following scenes:
There is an added scene between the one where Paco argues with his stepfather and the one where they get hassled by the cop. In it we see the guys driving and recalling moments in their childhood, smoking what seems to be joint and they get Miklo to do a " baby on acid face"
The scene where Cruz receives his scholarship is extended: He gives a speech and talks about his real mom who couldn't be there to see him receive his prize.
The scene where Popeye shows Miklo around is longer and contains more dialogue, including a death row inmate being escorted.
The art show scene is extended, Cruz and his buddies return high on drugs and his manager plays it off as part of the show.
There is an added scene before the one where Popeye takes his parole picture. In it Miklo and Popeye strike a deal: Miklo will erase Popeye's debt to La Onda in return Popeye will cast a vote for him in the council.
There is an added scene where Popeye stabs Smokey during a phony deal. It explains why Smokey is bleeding when he calls Paco and the blood on his shirt in the church.
After Montana is stabbed by Wallace, the prison riot sequence is longer with a cut scene containing more dialogue with the Onda council.
The final prison riot scene where Bonafide (the Black Guerilla Family leader) is murdered is more graphic where he is impaled.
I saw this movie by chance and was expecting it to be some low budget flick with gang fights in it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie was. I put the DVD in and was planning to only watch a few minutes before going to bed, but the movie was so good and interesting that I watched the whole thing.
I'm also surprised this movie didn't win many awards. I notice it only won best director in Japan. This should have at least been nominated for best picture (Schindler's List won that year).
And speaking of surprises, the plot has some good twists and surprises of its own.
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