5.7/10
1,287
24 user 20 critic

Original Gangstas (1996)

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0:19 | Trailer

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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 »

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:

Hot City See more »

Filming Locations:

East Chicago, Indiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,014,000
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

Larry Cohen stated they started filming in the summer, and it was "extremely hot. I mean, the average temperature was 100 degrees, so it was murder down there, and naturally everything was just desolate". See more »

Goofs

Camera crew shadow visible during the fight at the abandoned steel mill. See more »

Quotes

Rafael - Guns Dealer: I did not know what Spryo wanted, so I brought a taste of everything?
John Bookman: [Inspecting gun's] All right. Looks good to me we'll take it all.
Dink: Spyro and Damien they gonna love this shit!
Rafael - Guns Dealer: That's alot of merchandise there, but because it is for the Reb's I will give it to you for a very special price only $18,000.
Dink: Fuck that, Spyro said 15 for everything that's it.
John Bookman: [to Dink] Get it, 15,000 what we got. You can keep the bag too.
Dink: [Gives Rafael the money bag] it's all there.
Rafael - Guns Dealer: So are the Reb's having a war or ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People
Written by Eugene Record
Performed by The Chi-Lites
Published by Chappell Music Ltd.
Produced by Eugene Record & Carl Davis
Chi-Lites appear courtesy of Brunswick Record Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

Why is this film so disappointing?
11 February 2004 | by chas77See all my reviews

This film does not work.

It has great potential and the theme of abandoning your roots frequently pops up -- giving potential for further plot development which most action films do not even approach. However, this all-star cast of blaxploitation veterans making their first film together rarely jells.

For instance, Fred Williamson, who produced, seems to have forgotten that there were other great actors from that era. 90% of the film is him strutting around, pontificating on how bad the neighborhood has become and why don't the cops/neighbors/politicians/whoever do something about it. He saw fit to put Jim Brown in as co-star, but Brown serves as little more than a bodyguard, punching the whey out of a few people and (in his one big solo scene) threatening a young thug. Richard ("Shaft") Roundtree and Mr. "Superfly" himself -- Ron O'Neal -- are given glorified cameos. In fact, the introductory scene with O'Neal is shown completely in long shot. Why didn't the director do a few closeups? You can hardly tell it's O'Neal. That's just sloppy direction (either that or they didn't have permits to shoot on city streets and shot this on the sly).

Other great character actors -- Robert Forster, Charles Napier, Wings Hauser -- are featured but have little to do but act like cartoon characters. Whoever wrote this film should have given thought to the reasons why the best blaxploitation epics worked.

Not a complete failure but overall a major disappointment considering this is the first and only film these stars have been in together (no chance for a reunion with O'Neal's recent passing).

** out of *****


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