Movie Review • Original Gangstas is that movie I find myself watching each time it come on tv, and I’m not sure why. It’s not one of the best movies made but it’s not trash either, but there is something about it that keep me going back for more.
The film brought in famous blaxploitation stars from the early 70’s such as Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree, Fred Williamson and former Cleveland Browns fullback Jim Brown. John Bookman (Fred Williamson) comes back to Gary, IN where the city has been hit hard economically and has been taken over by The Rebels gang that recently killed his father and a local promising high school basketball player. Bookman comes back home with a plan, and that’s to take care of the rebel that killed his father.
Now that word is out that Bookman is back he rounds up some of his former rebel members, Jake (Jim Brown), Laurie (Pam Grier) and Slick (Richard Roundtree). Their plan is to take back their neighborhood from the local gangs but they know they need the neighborhoods help. Although it took the locals some time to come around because they were afraid, they eventually realized that they outnumbered the gangs and took them out along with some help from surrounding rival gang members.
Director Larry Cohen actually casted real gang members from the community for the movie. He mentioned he enjoyed filming with them because they were very cooperative and were always on time to set. Larry felt bad after filming because he felt like he left them behind because they had to go back to their neighborhood where crime was still high and there was nothing he could do about it. Weeks after the film crew left, they had to bring the National Guard into the neighborhood because the killings became so bad.
This made me appreciate the film a little bit more because the film showed real life events that were going on in Gary. The acting was mediocre but the storyline was good. I love a good retaliation movie where the good guys win, and Original Gangstas gave just that.