Gang Related | Chicago Reader

Gang Related

This half-gritty, half-silly crime drama isn't enhanced by the low-key score by former Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart. James Belushi, an obscurely motivated killer cop, executes drug dealers with his partner Tupac Shakur and gets more laughs from the unintentional humor of his movie-macho behavior than from his scripted jokes. After the two accidentally kill an undercover DEA agent, Belushi and Shakur's relationship becomes strained as they try to frame various patsies. The movie is least ambivalent about being funny in a scene in an interrogation room where the detectives shove a gun across the table, hoping the men they've falsely accused will grab it and leave fingerprints. But other attempts at humor are so oddly timed and delivered it's hard to know what to make of them. Shakur's performance get increasingly intriguing as his character becomes disenchanted with his partner's tactics, but Belushi is in way over his head. Lela Rochon plays an exotic dancer whose relationship with Belushi makes about as much sense as anything else in the story. Written and directed by Jim Kouf.

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