Black Stars of the '70S Bring Firepower to 'Original Ganstas'

By Colbert, P. S. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 10, 1996 | Go to article overview

Black Stars of the '70S Bring Firepower to 'Original Ganstas'


Colbert, P. S., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: P.S. Colbert Daily Herald Correspondent

Talk about gratuitous violence.

Machine guns. Martial arts. Bullet wounds. Broken bones. Blood, blood and more blood, most of it coming from teenagers.

I loved every minute of it.

Have I gone mad? Yep. I'm mad as heck and I'm not gonna fake it anymore.

You see, the aforementioned teen fatalities are former street gang soldiers who once terrorized the streets of Gary, In., victimizing decent hard-working folks and killing innocent kids for kicks.

We all know how common this scenario has become and that practically no place is safe from such fascists' maneuvering.

So who's gonna put a stop to all this?

Meet the "Original Gangstas."

Founders of the Rebels (incidentally the same gang responsible for the carnage now running rampant in the local area) the O.G's will probably look familiar to you.

There's John Bookman, former pro football star and current color commentator of network TV fame. Jake Trevor, ex-boxing champion now successfully coaching today's leading contenders. Laurie Thompson, actually a fringe member of the gang (she gave birth to Jake's only son) now the proprietor of a highly reputable salon.

Unlike John and Jake, who fled the neighborhood to seek fame and fortune, ex-Rebels Slick and Bubba hung around, setting up legitimate businesses of their own.

OK, so the names of the characters might not sound familiar, but the faces will surely bring back some fond movie memories.

Yep, that's Fred ("The Hammer') Williamson, Jim ("Slaughter') Brown, Pam ("Foxy Brown') Grier, Richard ("Shaft") Roundtree and Ron ("Superfly") O'Neal, respectively, the cream of the crop in the 1970's gangster film movement now grievously referred to as "blaxploitation."

The ol' posse comes together after the leader of the Rebels' current rank (Christopher B. Duncan, who personifies icy cool menace) orders hits on Jake and Laurie's son, who hustled him in a basketball game, and John's father, a local shop owner who tips off the law regarding the identities of the hustler's assassins. …

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