Gang Related

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This article is about the film. For the soundtrack, see Gang Related (soundtrack). For other meanings, see Gang Related (disambiguation).
Gang Related
Gang related ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Kouf
Written by Jim Kouf
Starring James Belushi
James Earl Jones
Dennis Quaid
David Paymer
Gary Cole
Tupac Shakur
Lela Rochon
Terrence "TC" Carson
Distributed by Orion/MGM
Release date(s) October 8, 1997
Running time 102 min.
Country  United States
Language English
Box office $5,906,773[1]

Gang Related is a 1997 crime drama film written and directed by Jim Kouf which stars James Belushi, Dennis Quaid, James Earl Jones, David Paymer, and Tupac Shakur. The film revolves around two corrupt detectives who attempt to frame a homeless man for the murder of an undercover DEA agent they themselves had killed. The film is also famous for being Tupac Shakur's last movie performance.

Plot summary[edit]

Renegade police detectives Frank Divinci (James Belushi) and Jake Rodriguez (Tupac Shakur) gun down narcotics dealer Lionel Hudd (Kool Moe Dee), after the three engage illegally in drug trafficking; this is in order to recover the cocaine Hudd purchased from them. When Divinci and Rodriguez find out Hudd was actually a "deep cover" DEA agent—because Hudd's partner (Gary Cole) drops by their precinct for help sniffing out the killers—they try to frame anyone else with the murder. It does not help that Rodriguez has outstanding gambling debts, and that a huge man known only as "Mr. Cutlass Supreme" (Tiny Lister) is on his case for it.

After arresting numerous felons without success (because they cannot possibly link Hudd's murder to any of them), Divinci and Rodriguez arrest a homeless drunk by the name of Joe Doe (Dennis Quaid). While Joe is still intoxicated, the detectives convince him that he shot Hudd. They even make him sign a confession.

At his first legal hearing, Joe is declared mentally unfit to stand trial (he can not even remember his own last name). The trial is postponed accordingly. At Joe's second hearing, high-profile lawyer Arthur Baylor (James Earl Jones) attends the proceedings. Baylor reveals that his client's name is actually William Dane McCall, and that Joe is actually the missing-and-presumed-dead co-heir to the financial empire of a high-status family. Baylor asks the court to grant a one-week continuance so he can prepare his defense properly. The court agrees.

Divinci and Rodriguez convince local stripper Cynthia Webb (Lela Rochon), also Divinci's mistress, who was the "bait" in their trap for Hudd, to "identify" Joe in a police line-up. Afterwards, she is summoned to testify in court. She disappears for a period of time, but is finally discovered and brought in for The People vs. William Dane McCall. She gives her rehearsed testimony against Joe, at which time Joe informs Baylor that he lived in an alley next to Cynthia's apartment. Baylor questions Cynthia until she finally confesses to knowing Joe. The fact that she knows the defendant as "Joe" and not as "William Dane McCall" shows that she had previous knowledge of the defendant, thus proving her testimony for Joe being Hudd's killer to be false. She is arrested for perjury while the verdict of Joe's case remains unknown.

Divinci and Rodriguez hire Manny, a bail agent, to get Cynthia out of jail. They plan to kill her before she can testify. On the day she is to be "silenced", Rodriguez confesses to Divinci about feeling guilty regarding the numerous murders they have committed. Divinci suddenly suspects his partner of taping their conversation; such indeed turns out to be the case, after Divinci forcibly searches Rodriguez. Rodriguez informs Divinci that he has already confessed to the DEA regarding what they have done. Unwilling to kill Rodriguez here and now, Divinci renounces their friendship and drives off into the night. Rodriguez returns home to find his bookie and Mr. Cutlass Supreme waiting for him. Enraged about the preceding events, he attacks them only to be shot dead.

Cynthia, still in jail, strikes a deal with Baylor to testify against Divinci in return for her perjury case being dropped. Frank, upon hearing that Cynthia has confessed against him, breaks into her home. He shoots and wounds her. The dying Cynthia is rushed to an emergency room at the local hospital, where Dr. McCall prepares to operate on her and save her life.

Divinci makes arrangements with Manny to sneak out of the country. The driver Manny hires for Divinci turns out to be Clyde David Dunner, a murderer and arsonist...whose case was dropped because Divinci and Rodriguez, who had arrested him, stole his Magnum from the police-evidence room and used it to kill Hudd. Dunner pulls the same Magnum and shoots Frank.


Actor Role
James Belushi Det. Frank Divinci
James Earl Jones Arthur Baylor
Dennis Quaid William McCall/Joe Doe
David Paymer Elliot Goff
Gary Cole DEA Agent Richard Simms
Tupac Shakur Detective Jake Rodriguez
Terrence "TC" Carson Manny Landrew
Lela Rochon Cynthia Webb
Wendy Crewson Helen Eden
Kool Mo Dee Lionel Hudd
Robert LaSardo Sarkasian


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. U.S. R&B
1997 Gang Related 2 1
  • US: 2× Platinum


A DVD version of the film was released on November 20, 2001.


The movie holds a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 16 reviews. It received a mixed reception.[2][3][4]


Before the credits roll, the tribute "Dedicated to Tupac Shakur (1971–1996)" appears onscreen.

Box office[edit]

  • Opening weekend: $2,443,237.
  • Total: $5,906,773.


  1. ^ "Gang Related". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ Turan, Kenneth (October 8, 1997). "MOVIE REVIEW; 'Gang Related' Goes Over Some Rough Territory". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  3. ^ Stack, Peter (October 8, 1997). "FILM REVIEW -- 'Gang Related' Criminally Bad". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  4. ^ Hunter, Stephen (February 9, 1998). "Gang Related: Tupac's Triumph". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 

External links[edit]