Gang Related

on October 10, 1997 by Dwayne E. Leslie
Divinci ("Race the Sun's" James Belushi) and Rodriguez ("Gridlock'd's" Tupac Shakur) have salary problems. They don't make enough to take care of their needs and desires. This prompts them to use impounded narcotics and Divinci's girlfriend Cynthia ("Waiting to Exhale's" Lela Rochon) to lure drug dealers to their last deal. After Divinci makes the purchase, the dealers are killed so that the drugs can be returned to the impound. To these two cops, one more chalk outline won't matter if it helps get rid of some of the city's garbage, and they know if the act is thought to be gang related--just one bad guy killing another--the case investigation will go on the back burner. All is going fine with their plan until one of the chalk outlines is an undercover DEA agent. Now the case becomes personal to their fellows back at the precinct, and Divinci and Rodrigues must find someone on whom to pin the shooting.
   The toughness of language and abuse of authority his role involves fits Belushi; he seems comfortable as a cop. The late Shakur spends most of his time brooding, rubbing his head and asking questions formed by a guilty subconscious. The chemistry between them just isn't there. Instead of being dirty cops, Belushi and Shakur seem more like henchmen working for the mob who killed a made man.
   With this final performance of rap-industry icon Shakur, audiences receive a double dose of the artist: Four of his unreleased songs fuel the movie's soundtrack (out on Death Row Records) and give his fans something worthwhile to remember him by. If Shakur in his role could have generated the energy and enthusiasm he brought to his music, this film could have been a classic. But it's that music that could live on, because this film will be forgotten fast. Starring James Belushi, Tupac Shakur, Lela Rochon, James Earl Jones and Dennis Quaid. Directed and written by Jim Kouf. Produced by Brad Krevoy, Steve Stabler and John Bertolli. An MGM/Orion release. Drama. Rated R for strong language, some violence and a scene with nudity.
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