Gang Related

Gang Related stars Tupac Shakur and James Belushi as corrupt cops who sell confiscated drugs to dealers, then kill the dealers and take back their drugs. Their plan is working relatively well, until their 11th victim turns out to be an undercover DEA agent (played by rapper Kool Moe Dee, no less). Suddenly, the DEA is breathing down their necks, and they need a patsy. Unfortunately, the patsy they select—a drunken homeless man played by a nearly unrecognizable Dennis Quaid—turns out to be the wayward black sheep of a wealthy and powerful family, and a surgeon to boot. To further complicate matters, Lela Rochon, the stripper Belushi has coaxed into testifying against Quaid, is having a change of heart. Needless to say, complications ensue. As is probably inevitable for a film with two corrupt, murderous, drug-dealing cops for protagonists, Gang Related is a nasty, vicious little movie. It's also an excellent genre film. Like a good pulp novel, it tells a lurid story cleanly and effectively, without calling undue attention to itself. The cast is uniformly excellent, with James Earl Jones, David Paymer and Gary Cole making good turns in supporting roles. Belushi turns in a surprisingly restrained performance as the nastier of the two corrupt cops, but the real surprise here is Shakur's work as an essentially moral officer who is gradually sickened by the murky moral swamp in which he finds himself. Shakur's growth as an actor since his unheralded debut performance in Nothing But Trouble is nothing short of remarkable. A bright future lies ahead for this talented, charismatic young star.

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