Gang Related

  • Film
  • Thrillers
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Street cops Divinci (Belushi) and Rodriguez (Shakur) have a scam going, fake drug deals in which they sell the dope, dispose of the customer in a drive-by execution, retrieve the drugs and record the shooting as gang related. A nice little earner, this also helps clean the streets of dealers, or so justifies Divinci, whose ethics on the job have stretched as wide as his waistline. The plot unravels when one victim proves to have been an undercover DEA agent, his boss now baying for answers. Short of the usual scapegoats, Divinci lines up an alcoholic tramp (Quaid) to take the fall, ropes in his girlfriend (Rochon) to stand witness, and borrows the odd item of evidence from a concurrent murder trial. Despite a vaguely interesting premise - something like a chaos theory of police karma, the two partners precipitating their own downfall via a series of triggered repercussions - this never rises above the functional.

Release details

Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jim Kouf
Screenwriter: Jim Kouf
Cast: James Belushi
Tupac Shakur
Lela Rochon
Dennis Quaid
James Earl Jones
David Paymer
Wendy Crewson
Gary Cole
LiveReviews|4
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Ven007

Yet another critic overlooks the merits of this flawed masterpiece. The film is that very rare thing - an intelligent movie that deals with lethal violence, and the often unexpected repercussions upon those who employ it. Belushi is terrific as the thoroughly monstrous half of this unpleasant pair. His amorality is of a magnitude that can countenance the release of an evil, psychopathic killer (no, not himself), because it won't affect him. Or so he thinks. Shakur steals the film however, because he is given a far more complex, nuanced role to play. His character is by no means a hero, but he at least retains sufficient humanity to be haunted by the carnage reaked by Belushi and himself. His character is conflicted almost throughout the film, and Shakur never fails to bring that across to the viewer (perhaps because he was himself such a troubled individual?). Ultimately, it is a weakness for gambling that chains him to Belushi's amoral ogre. In depicting their inevitable ends, the film is almost Shakespearean. Each dies as a direct result of his own specific failing as a human. So, for Shakur, it is gambling; whereas Belushi literally comes face to face with the results of his own amorality, in a viciously brilliant ending. Only the mawkish sentimentality of Quaid's personal story jars with the film - the court-cell scene should have hit the cutting room floor, and a more suitable way found to tell his tale in detail (if indeed it ever needed to be).

Ven007

Yet another critic overlooks the merits of this flawed masterpiece. The film is that very rare thing - an intelligent movie that deals with lethal violence, and the often unexpected repercussions upon those who employ it. Belushi is terrific as the thoroughly monstrous half of this unpleasant pair. His amorality is of a magnitude that can countenance the release of an evil, psychopathic killer (no, not himself), because it won't affect him. Or so he thinks. Shakur steals the film however, because he is given a far more complex, nuanced role to play. His character is by no means a hero, but he at least retains sufficient humanity to be haunted by the carnage reaked by Belushi and himself. His character is conflicted almost throughout the film, and Shakur never fails to bring that across to the viewer (perhaps because he was himself such a troubled individual?). Ultimately, it is a weakness for gambling that chains him to Belushi's amoral ogre. In depicting their inevitable ends, the film is almost Shakespearean. Each dies as a direct result of his own specific failing as a human. So, for Shakur, it is gambling; whereas Belushi literally comes face to face with the results of his own amorality, in a viciously brilliant ending. Only the mawkish sentimentality of Quaid's personal story jars with the film - the court-cell scene should have hit the cutting room floor, and a more suitable way found to tell his tale in detail (if indeed it ever needed to be).