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"GANG RELATED"
(1997) (James Belushi, Tupac Shakur) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Extreme Mild Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Mild None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Minor Mild Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two corrupt detectives, who specialize in setting up and killing drug dealers, unknowingly kill an undercover D.E.A. agent and scramble to cover up their crime any way they can.
PLOT:
Detectives DiVinci (JAMES BELUSHI) and Rodriguez (TUPAC SHAKUR) are two corrupt cops who've set up their own lucrative drug business. Dealing drugs and then killing the buyers, they not only keep the money, but they also feel they're cleaning up the streets and they get away with it by blaming the murders on "gang related" issues. When one of their victims, however, turns out to be an undercover D.E.A. agent, they find themselves in a heap of trouble. Simms (GARY COLE), the slain agent's boss, wants the case solved fast and the two detectives set out to quickly find a patsy who will "confess" to the crime. They choose a homeless man, "Joe Doe" (DENNIS QUAID) and get DiVinci's parttime girlfriend and fulltime exotic dancer, Cynthia Webb (LELA ROCHON), to testify that she saw the crime. Things begin to unravel, however, when Cynthia begins to get cold feet and the public defender, Elliot Goff (DAVID PAYMER), makes the case go to trial despite Joe's "confession." When it turns out the homeless man is actually a missing, well-known corporate heir, and a famous lawyer, Arthur Baylor (JAMES EARL JONES), joins the defense, things begin to look bad for the two cops. From that point on, they decide to do whatever it takes to keep their crime a secret.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Some teens might, particularly if they're fans of the cast members, but preteens will probably have little interest in this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong language, some violence and a scene with nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAMES BELUSHI and TUPAC SHAKUR play corrupt cops who murder people, tamper with evidence and intimidate others.
  • LELA ROCHON plays an exotic dancer (ie. a stripper) who covers for the two detectives and perjures herself in a trial.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    This film takes a rather interesting approach to engaging the audience. While some films feature "bad guys" who the audience actively root for and hope will succeed due to their charming personalities, humorous nature, etc... this film takes a one hundred and eighty degree turn from that notion. Knowing that its two lead characters are unlikeable, corrupt cops, writer/director Jim Kouf turns the tables and has the audience root for the detectives' downfall. Instead of hoping that the cops will be smart enough to con their way out of their messy predicament, the audience hopes they'll be caught despite their efforts. Surprisingly, this tactic works rather well. Our preview audience got a kick out of watching their plan fall apart all around them like a boulder rolling downhill -- slowly at first and then gaining more and more momentum.

    Of course the film isn't a comedy, but a great deal of the film's enjoyment is watching the characters and their plan unravel. Beyond that interesting tactic, the film is also more clever than it appears on the surface, with interesting characterizations and a wickedly violent, but appropriately clever and fitting ending. Despite the grim sounding story, there are funny moments -- some hilarious bits of dialogue and a few scenes that will inspire some laughs -- that are needed to lighten up the film's atmosphere. Belushi is good -- but certainly not likeable -- in his role as the caustically corrupt cop. Shakur, in his final film appearance (he was shot to several years ago) also delivers a competent, if somewhat reserved performance. He's nowhere near as good as he was in the 1996 film, "Gridlock'd," however, that proved he could have had a bright future in the movies. The rest of the cast is good and Dennis Quaid is nearly unrecognizable during early parts of the film.

    Although this film has nothing to do with gangs, despite the title, it is the sort of movie that initially seems to be moderately entertaining when watching it, but grows on you after you've left the theater. Kouf has taken a well used -- if perhaps nearly overused -- plot and added enough "fun" and inventiveness to it that its sum is truly greater than its individual scenes. While certainly not for all audiences, this film will please those looking for a unique approach to the corrupt cop movie. We give "Gang Related" a 6.5 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Profanity, violence, some nudity, and many bad attitudes are the biggest issues of concern with this movie. At least 165 "f" words are said throughout the film along with a great many others. Several people are shot and killed during the movie, but the bloodletting isn't too bad considering the deaths. We see some topless dancers (and their bare butts in g-string bottoms) in a strip club and some sexual activity is implied, but not seen on screen. The two lead characters are corrupt cops who kill, intimidate and tamper with evidence, all of which proves they're nowhere near being good role models. The film does show their downfall, though, so it doesn't greatly glorify their behavior (ie. They get what they deserve). We see cocaine in a few scenes but it's not used. Alcohol and cigarettes are, however, with moderate to heavy use. Since some kids, mostly teens, will want to see this film, we strongly suggest that you look through the content to determine whether it's appropriate for them or for you.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People drink in a strip club.
  • DiVinci sells cocaine to a buyer who tastes the sample.
  • Joe is an alcoholic and is often drunk.
  • Rodriguez drinks whisky straight from the bottle.
  • The two cops entice Joe with liquor to make him talk. After he does, they give him the bottle and he tips it up and proceeds to drain it in one gulp.
  • We see DiVinci and Rodriguez on their second drinks in a bar.
  • The two cops drink in a bar again.
  • A bail bondsman drinks in his office.
  • DiVinci gives a bail bondsman cocaine to sell in exchange for money.
  • We see a six-pack of beer in Cynthia's fridge.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A drug buyer has two bloody bullet holes in his body. Later, we see him again and his head is very bloody.
  • A man who's been shot is bloody as are the walls near him.
  • A person who's been shot has a bloody bullet hole in the chest.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Not only are DiVinci and Rodriguez killers (we're told they've killed eleven people), but DiVinci also tampers with evidence in the police evidence room. He also pressures Cynthia to go along with their cover-up and comments that he'll tell her everything to say on the stand. She does so even when she has the chance to do the right thing and spill the beans about their crime.
  • The two cops try to blame other suspects with their crime and illegally collect fingerprints by giving the suspects the murder weapon to hold. They finally pick Joe Doe as their man and plant misinformation into his confused mind, making him think he actually killed the D.E.A. agent.
  • Cynthia flees when she receives a summons to show up for the court case.
  • DiVinci and Rodriguez agree that they have to kill Cynthia since she's the only one who can turn them in.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • DiVinci pulls his gun and aims it at Rodriguez when he thinks his partner has turned sides and may be wearing a "wire."
  • DiVinci roughs up Cynthia in her apartment and we think he's going to kill her (he tries).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Idiot," "Screwed up," "Shut up," "Puke" (adjective), "Scumbag," "Sh*thead," "Geez," and "Nigger" (heard in a rap song).
  • Joe Doe urinates in some hedges on the street.
  • DiVinci subtly gives "the finger" to a criminal during a trial.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a mild amount of suspenseful music in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • There are a few rap songs with (mostly) indecipherable lyrics, but we did make out some profanities (the "f" word), the word "nigger," and references to crack cocaine.
  • PROFANITY
  • A few rap songs contained some profanities (including the "f' word) but were too difficult to hear/understand to get a full count.
  • Otherwise, there are at least 165 "f" words (2 used with "mother"), 39 "s" words, 2 slang terms for male genitals (the "p" word), 21 hells, 13 asses (10 used with "hole"), 2 S.O.B.'s, 2 damns, 1 crap, and 27 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Jesus Christ," "and 1 use each of "Swear to God," "For Christ's sakes," "My God" and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Scantily clad "exotic dancers" perform at a strip club in several scenes. We see their bare buttocks (in their g-string bottoms) as well as their bare breasts in one scene as they suggestively dance around the stage poles.
  • A drug buyer tells Cynthia that there are lots of hot spots on his body when she frisks him for weapons.
  • We see DiVinci and Cynthia in bed together implying they had sex, but no activity is seen.
  • When Cynthia is reluctant to identify Joe as the killer, Rodriguez comments on that and says, "She was probably blowing him" (oral sex) to which she replies, "Better him than you."
  • We see DiVinci and a female prosecutor in bed, but no activity is seen.
  • SMOKING
  • Rodriguez smokes throughout the film.
  • Cynthia, the trial prosecutor, and a bail bondsman occasionally smoke during the film.
  • People smoke in the backgrounds of scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn the story about Joe the homeless man and that his wife and two kids were killed in a car accident after she discovered he was having an affair.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Police corruption.
  • Homeless people and the reasons they might be the way they are.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A drug buyer is shot dead in a drive by shooting.
  • DiVinci and Rodriguez get into a slight pushing match and DiVinci then draws his gun and aims it at his partner to make him calm down.
  • The two cops get a little rough at times with suspects (throwing them against walls, etc...) they're trying to frame.
  • Joe imagines/daydreams shooting the D.E.A. agent and we see him firing several shots at the car.
  • Cynthia heaves a glass against her wall.
  • There is talk during a trial about a suspect killing his spouse by setting her and the house on fire (not seen). That suspect, noting that the gun presented in the trial isn't his, gets up to protest and hits several people before being subdued.
  • We see two dead people at a crime scene and hear that three other bodies are inside.
  • DiVinci pushes a bail bondsman up against a wall. Later, he and Rodriguez beat up and kick this guy on the floor.
  • DiVinci pulls his gun and aims it at Rodriguez, and later hits him in the chest, when he thinks his partner has turned sides and may be wearing a "wire."
  • Rodriguez tears up his apartment in anger over his predicament.
  • A man roughs up Cynthia in her apartment and then shoots her (she lives).
  • Two men are shot dead near the end of the story.



  • Reviewed October 1, 1997

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