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Original Gangstas (1996) The 'stas of the title are a trio of '70s blaxploitation stars — Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, and Pam Grier — who star in this… R PT99M Musical Oscar Brown Jr. Jim Brown Pam Grier Fred Williamson
Movie Review

Original Gangstas (1996)

MPAA Rating: R

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EW's GRADE
B+

Details Rated: R; Length: 99 Minutes; Genre: Musical; With: Oscar Brown Jr., Jim Brown, Pam Grier and Fred Williamson

The 'stas of the title are a trio of '70s blaxploitation stars — Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, and Pam Grier — who star in this contemporary shoot-'em-up with a conscience. The three play middle-agers in a crime-ridden area of Gary, Ind., who are sick and tired of being bullied by local gang-bangers. Director Larry Cohen is no stranger to B-movie mayhem — this is the guy who did Hell Up in Harlem, among others. As usual, Cohen adds ironic subtext to the gunplay: Our heroes are the victims of a gang they themselves founded decades before. Original Gangstas works as an action flick, but also as an effective lament for a lost generation of inner-city African-American youth doomed to violent ends. B+

Originally posted May 24, 1996 Published in issue #328 May 24, 1996 Order article reprints