Few films justify three-hour running times, and, despite solid performances, this epic tale of a Chicano sub-culture isn't one of them. Certainly, there are moments of powerful physical and emotional violence as half-caste hero Miklo (Chapa) attempts to consolidate his gangland heritage. Convicted of a shooting, Miklo rises to prominence within prison walls, while his former accomplices on the outside turn variously to drug abuse and law enforcement. What bond can remain between the blood brothers when circumstances divide them so dramatically? Clearly a labour of love for director Hackford, the film oozes integrity and is heavy with the stench of an authentic milieu; but forceful set-pieces and astute cultural observations are lost amid a sea of confusing (and eventually dull) stand-offs between warring gangs.