Original Gangstas


1h 38m 1996

Brief Synopsis

It's been 15 years since John Bookman left hometown Gary, Indiana to coach a pro LA football team. In his absence, the city's mean streets have only gotten meaner. Over the years, the steel mills shut down, local businesses closed up and the decent people of Gary have had to face a new menace. A dan

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
1996
Distribution Company
Orion Pictures
Location
East Chicago, Indiana, USA; Gary, Indiana, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m

Synopsis

It's been 15 years since John Bookman left hometown Gary, Indiana to coach a pro LA football team. In his absence, the city's mean streets have only gotten meaner. Over the years, the steel mills shut down, local businesses closed up and the decent people of Gary have had to face a new menace. A dangerous gang of criminals called the "Rebels" are thriving in Gary and tormenting its residents. The Rebels' involvement in a tragic drive-by killing sets the stage for a winner-take-all throwdown between the gang, Bookman and a few locals who have their own scores to settle. Bookman created the Rebels 30 years ago, when it was a rocks-and-bottles protection gang. He now knows that they must be destroyed. Bookman and his crew may be old school, but they are Gary's original gangstas. It's time for the '90s Rebels to re-learn a piece of history and discover who has the power to bring order and respect back to their hometown.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
1996
Distribution Company
Orion Pictures
Location
East Chicago, Indiana, USA; Gary, Indiana, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m

Articles

Ron O'Neal (1937-2003) - Ron O'Neal (1937-2003)


Ron O'Neal, the handsome, athletic black actor who shot to fame in the '70s for his role as the Harlem drug dealer "Youngblood Priest" in the cult flick, Superfly (1972), died of cancer in Los Angeles on January 14th. He was 66.

O'Neal was born on September 1, 1937 in Utica, New York, but he grew up in Cleveland. After graduating high school in 1955, he joined the city's widely acclaimed Karamu House, an experimental interracial theatrical troupe. During his nine-year stint with the playhouse, he had roles in such varied productions as A Raisin in the Sun, A Streetcar Named Desire and Kiss Me Kate.

After moving to New York City in the mid-'60s, he taught acting classes in Harlem and performed in summer stock. He came to critical notice in the off-Broadway production of Charles Gordone's Pulitzer Prize-winning No Place to be Somebody where he earned an Obie Award (the off-Broadway Tony) for his work. The producers of Superfly saw him in that production and cast him in the film's lead role of "Youngblood Priest". The film was a box-office smash, and O'Neal, looking slick and ultra-stylish in his big fedora hat, leather boots, flowing scarf, and floor length trench coat, became a pop culture icon of the "blaxsploitation" genre overnight.

O'Neal would try his hand at directing when he took on the sequel Superfly T.N.T. (1973). Unfortunately, his lack of experience showed as the poorly directed film lacked its predecessor's wit and pace, and proved a resounding commercial flop. Sadly, O'Neal's fame (as well as the blaxsploitation genre itself), would inevitably fade, and by the decade's end, O'Neal would be co-starring in such B-films as When a Stranger Calls, and the Chuck Norris actioner A Force of One (both 1979).

His fortunes did brighten in the mid-'80s with television, earning semi-regular roles in two of the more popular shows of the day: The Equalizer (1985-89) and A Different World (1987-93). Better still, as scholars and film fans rediscovered his performance in Superfly, O'Neal gathered some movie work again. He was cast alongside fellow blaxsploitation stars Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Jim Brown and Richard Roundtree in the genre's tribute film Original Gangstas (1996); the film was a modest hit, and O'Neal made the rounds in a few more urban action thrillers, most notably his final film On the Edge (2002), co-starring rap and televisions star, Ice-T. O'Neal is survived by his wife Audrey Pool O'Neal, and sister, Kathleen O'Neal.

by Michael T. Toole
Ron O'neal  (1937-2003) - Ron O'neal (1937-2003)

Ron O'Neal (1937-2003) - Ron O'Neal (1937-2003)

Ron O'Neal, the handsome, athletic black actor who shot to fame in the '70s for his role as the Harlem drug dealer "Youngblood Priest" in the cult flick, Superfly (1972), died of cancer in Los Angeles on January 14th. He was 66. O'Neal was born on September 1, 1937 in Utica, New York, but he grew up in Cleveland. After graduating high school in 1955, he joined the city's widely acclaimed Karamu House, an experimental interracial theatrical troupe. During his nine-year stint with the playhouse, he had roles in such varied productions as A Raisin in the Sun, A Streetcar Named Desire and Kiss Me Kate. After moving to New York City in the mid-'60s, he taught acting classes in Harlem and performed in summer stock. He came to critical notice in the off-Broadway production of Charles Gordone's Pulitzer Prize-winning No Place to be Somebody where he earned an Obie Award (the off-Broadway Tony) for his work. The producers of Superfly saw him in that production and cast him in the film's lead role of "Youngblood Priest". The film was a box-office smash, and O'Neal, looking slick and ultra-stylish in his big fedora hat, leather boots, flowing scarf, and floor length trench coat, became a pop culture icon of the "blaxsploitation" genre overnight. O'Neal would try his hand at directing when he took on the sequel Superfly T.N.T. (1973). Unfortunately, his lack of experience showed as the poorly directed film lacked its predecessor's wit and pace, and proved a resounding commercial flop. Sadly, O'Neal's fame (as well as the blaxsploitation genre itself), would inevitably fade, and by the decade's end, O'Neal would be co-starring in such B-films as When a Stranger Calls, and the Chuck Norris actioner A Force of One (both 1979). His fortunes did brighten in the mid-'80s with television, earning semi-regular roles in two of the more popular shows of the day: The Equalizer (1985-89) and A Different World (1987-93). Better still, as scholars and film fans rediscovered his performance in Superfly, O'Neal gathered some movie work again. He was cast alongside fellow blaxsploitation stars Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Jim Brown and Richard Roundtree in the genre's tribute film Original Gangstas (1996); the film was a modest hit, and O'Neal made the rounds in a few more urban action thrillers, most notably his final film On the Edge (2002), co-starring rap and televisions star, Ice-T. O'Neal is survived by his wife Audrey Pool O'Neal, and sister, Kathleen O'Neal. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 10, 1996

Released in United States on Video November 5, 1996

Completed shooting early September 1995.

Began shooting August 12, 1995.

Released in United States Spring May 10, 1996

Released in United States on Video November 5, 1996