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Original Gangstas (1996)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 10 May 1996 (USA)
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0:27 | Trailer
A crew of former gang members take back their Gary, Indiana hood from the Uzi-toting gangbangers who have taken over. Featuring blaxploitation stars Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree, Ron O'Neal and more.

Directors:

Larry Cohen, Fred Williamson (uncredited)

Writer:

Aubrey K. Rattan (as Aubrey Rattan)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Williamson ... John Bookman
Jim Brown ... Jake Trevor
Pam Grier ... Laurie Thompson
Paul Winfield ... Reverend Dorsey
Isabel Sanford ... Gracie Bookman
Oscar Brown Jr. Oscar Brown Jr. ... Marvin Bookman
Richard Roundtree ... Slick
Ron O'Neal ... Bubba
Christopher B. Duncan ... Spyro
Eddie Bo Smith Jr. Eddie Bo Smith Jr. ... Damien
Dru Down Dru Down ... Kayo
Shyheim Franklin ... Dink
Robert Forster ... Detective Slatten
Charles Napier ... Mayor
Wings Hauser ... Michael Casey
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Warzone See more »

Filming Locations:

East Chicago, Indiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,157,721, 12 May 1996

Gross USA:

$3,718,087

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,718,087
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Po' Boy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

opened the same day as Twister, to which Larry Cohen stated, "and Twister had the biggest opening of the year. It was a very highly-publicized picture -- tremendous amount of advertising. It must have been in 3000 theaters. And we were supposed to open a week before, but for some stupid reason Orion decided to postpone the opening and move it back a week. And Twister, which was supposed to open two weeks later, they moved their date up. So they ended up on the same day as us, and we were facing the most potent motion picture release of the year. So we were the second-highest grossing picture, and the second-highest theater average picture in the country. But that didn't do us any good, because Twister just wiped everybody out. The picture got unusually good reviews, surprisingly, from the New York Times and from all the papers -- really rave reviews". See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

John Bookman: So tell me what are you gonna do about these gang's?
Mayor: Well, from what I understand you used to be a gang-member yourself a founding member of the Reb's.
John Bookman: Yeah, that's true. But we didn't kill people.
Mayor: Yes but uh... you started something and it's outta control.
John Bookman: Because you let it!
Mayor: Now listen, DON'T LAY THIS SHIT ON ME! You are pissed off because you have become a victim of something you started yourself.
Michael Casey: You see Mr. Bookman I'm afraid that is your legacy to Gary, so don't be coming in here waving ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Baadasssss Cinema (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Shout of the Streets
Performed by The Dells
Written by Fred Pittman (as F.L. Pittman) and Noel Closson
Publishing by Clossongs, Soul Survivor, All Nations Music, Las Go Round, Kira Kurland and Appling Publishing (BMI)
Produced by Fred Pittman (as F.L. Pittman) and Preston Glass
Courtesy of PAR Records
See more »

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User Reviews

This is a powerful film and I'd love for you to see it.
11 October 2010 | by paul vincent zecchinoSee all my reviews

This is a powerful film and I hope you see it. Caught it here recently on THIS TV Network, so likely it will come around again.

The opening scenes of Gary, Indiana present as an arresting message of what happens to prosperity when do-gooders, Wowsers, Uplifters, Eco-messiahs, Carrie Nations, lunatics, and other chronic nuisances chase industry and jobs away in the name of saving something or other. Plants close and shortly rust. People quit their homes and leave them to face nature's relentless onslaught along with the thugs who move in and make them into Den's of iNiquity.

Richard Roundtree, Fred Williamson, Ron 'Superfly' O'Neil, they're all here along with the great Pam Grier, Jim Brown - Captain Anders in 1968's "Ice Station Zebra", along with the late and very much missed Paul Winfield who evinced touching cinemagic in 'Green Eyes'.

Even if you don't enjoy films in general, let alone the Blaxploitation genre, anyone who's into UE, Urban Exploration, sometimes called Industrial Archaeology - and if you're not, you should be - you'll swoon as serial images of one decrevalent building after another after oxydizing blast furnace after abandoned ten storeys-high heat stoves march across your screen. Yes, Gary, Indiana in "Original Gangstas" is prime Urban Exploration territory.

The film's message is poignant as ever: Don't incite people, particularly those wise in years, to righteous indignation. It's an unwise practice to do so.

Be sure to watch for the David Lynch-esquire visual anachronisms, e.g. the film takes place in 1996, yet many police cruisers hail from the 80s as well as the 90s. The Gangstas drive cars whose model years span a fifty year period, thus keeping you off balance until the stunning conclusion.

The wry humor, "there goes the neighborhood", will catch you off guard as well, and send you tumb-bumbling off the couch, onto the floor, and scurrying to your video store for your own copy of "Original Gangstas". If you don't own a copy of this, you should. Now. So do it. Now.

Paul Vincent Zecchino

Manasota Key, Florida

11 October, 2010


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