Tired of likable heroes? In Gang Related, James Belushi and Tupac Shakur play what may be the most scurrilous buddy team in history, a pair of corrupt cops who scam drug dealers, kill them in drive-by attacks, and then write up the incidents as anonymous ”gang related” homicides. When they mistakenly bump off an undercover DEA agent, the pressure to find a perpetrator intensifies, and so they pin the crime on a crazed, besotted derelict (Dennis Quaid) who looks like Aqualung on a bad day. It’s clear from the movie’s rambling, desultory tone that writer-director Jim Kouf (who is best known as the writer-producer of Stakeout) never bothered to figure out what, exactly, the audience is supposed to be rooting for. That these two two scuzzball ciphers get away with it? Or that they don’t? (If the latter, the joke is on anyone who likes to give a damn about what they’re watching.) Gang Related is an insulting mess, a movie that can’t make up its mind whether to be an inert courtroom drama, a flat thriller, or a witless comedy. Belushi certainly proves that he can play an uncharismatic lout with conviction, but the talented Shakur is — literally — wasted in his final screen performance. D+

Gang Related
  • TV Show