: : : Original Gangstas

Story

Larry Cohen scratched out some of the most memorably offbeat exploitation films of the 1970s, including two of the most energetic blaxploitation action classics: Black Caesar and its sequel, Hell Up in Harlem, which made a star of Fred Williamson. In 1996 they reunited for this tribute to the good old days and producer-star Williamson brought along a few of his fellow 1970s blaxplo icons: Jim Brown (Slaughter), Pam Grier (Foxy Brown), Richard Roundtree (Shaft), and Ron O'Neal (Superfly). They play old friends and former members of a neighborhood gang in economically depressed Gary, Indiana, who reunite when a new generation of gangbangers using their old street name, the Rebels, turns the city into a war zone. It's great fun to see the old faces back on the screen--Williamson is still buff and tough, and Brown and Grier have become more charismatic with age--but they're let down by a slack script and lazy direction despite an almost nonstop barrage of gunfights and back-alley brawls. Even with revved-up 1990s firepower, the film never really captures the explosive energy of the films that made their reputations. You're better off seeing the originals. Paul Winfield and Isabel Sanford also star, and Cohen casts cult faves Charles Napier, Wings Hauser, and Robert Forster in supporting roles. --Sean Axmaker

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Fred WilliamsonJohn Bookman
Jim BrownJake Trevor
Pam GrierLaurie Thompson
Paul WinfieldReverend Dorsey
Isabel SanfordGracie Bookman
Richard RoundtreeSlick
Shyheim FranklinDink
Robert ForsterDetective Slatten
Charles NapierMayor

  • Genre: Adventure Movies
  • Director: Larry Cohen
  • Producer: MGM/UA
  • Length: 99 min
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaMay 10, 1996
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe18
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaMay 1, 2001
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