Gang Related

Gang Related, alternatively known as Criminal Intent,[2] is a 1997 American action crime thriller film written and directed by Jim Kouf starring James Belushi, Tupac Shakur, Dennis Quaid, Lela Rochon, David Paymer and James Earl Jones. The film revolves around two corrupt cops (Belushi and Shakur) who attempt to frame a homeless man (Quaid) for the murder of an undercover DEA agent that they themselves had actually killed.

Gang Related
Gang related ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Kouf
Written byJim Kouf
Produced byJohn Bertolli
Brad Krevoy
Steven Stabler
CinematographyBrian J. Reynolds
Edited byTodd C. Ramsay
Music byMickey Hart
Kouf/Bigelow Productions
Orion Pictures
Distributed byMGM Distribution Co.
Release date
October 8, 1997
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$5.9 million[1]

The film was shot over a period of a month in August 1996 and wrapped filming just two weeks before Tupac Shakur’s death on September 13, 1996. It marked his final film appearance and was released a year after his death.[3]


Vice squad detectives Frank Divinci and Jake Rodriguez set up narcotics runner Lionel Hudd in a bogus drug trafficking deal; they execute Hudd and pocket his money. Having recovered the cocaine Hudd purchased from them, the detectives return that to the evidence room at their headquarters. When Divinci and Rodriguez find out Hudd was actually a "deep cover" DEA agent — because Hudd's partner, Richard Simms, drops by their precinct for help sniffing out the killers — they resolve to pin the murder on any likely suspect they can find. The detectives finally frame William McCall, a homeless drunk, by tricking him into confessing to the crime. Needing a witness, Divinci and Rodriguez press stripper Cynthia Webb — with whom Divinci has been cheating on his wife — into picking McCall out of a police lineup. It turns out McCall is a physician, missing and presumed dead for years, who hails from a wealthy family; their lawyers are brought in to defend him. At McCall's trial, he is promptly shown to be innocent. The case falls apart and McCall is released. Rodriguez records a conversation with Divinci in which the latter admits to Hudd's killing and McCall's setup. In response, Divinci forces Rodriguez out of the car at gunpoint. Returning to his apartment, Rodriguez is met by his bookie Vic...and by Vic's bodyguard, "Mr. Cutlass Supreme". They murder Rodriguez over an outstanding gambling debt. Investigating Rodriguez's death, the police find the damaged tape which contains Divinci's confession. McCall attorney Arthur Baylor questions Webb about Hudd's murder, playing back the plan by Divinci to kill her as a loose end. Webb tells Baylor everything she knows about Divinci's crimes. Divinci hides out in Webb's apartment and shoots her for betraying him. Webb is rushed to the hospital; her gurney is wheeled past Doctor McCall. Divinci arranges for a limousine ride to the airport. The driver is revealed to be recently-acquitted serial killer Clyde David Dunner, who murders Divinci and then dumps the body in an alley.



Gang Related opened in North America in 1,260 theaters and made $2,443,237 with an average of $1,939 per theater, ranking at No. 10 at the box office. The film ended up earning $5,906,773.[1] The film received mixed reviews, and has the rating of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on seventeen reviews, with an average rating of 5.4 out of 10.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom on August 14, 1998, and opened on #11.[5] Roger Ebert appraised the film more positively in an episode of At the Movies:

The screenplay shows a lot of nerve is making the central characters into villains. We identify, I think, with them anyway to a degree, maybe because they trigger our own built-in guilt. The dialogue crackles with life and energy. There are a lot of colorful characters. My only complaint is that the ending is a little too neat after everything that's gone before. This movie is good enough to deserve a better ending.[6]

About the movie's reception and box office results, Jim Belushi said: "Right around that time, when that movie came out, there was a gang related shooting at a movie theater in Los Angeles. That just ruined the opening of that movie. Everyone was afraid to go to the movie theatre, especially with the title Gang Related. Nobody went. Regardless, it’s become kind of a cult film since its release."[7]


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


  1. ^ a b "Gang Related (1997) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Gang Related (1997)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  3. ^ "'Gang Related' Co-Stars Remember Tupac Shakur | the Seattle Times".
  4. ^ Gang Related (1997), retrieved 2019-05-19
  5. ^ "Historical U.K. Weekend Box Office 14th August 1998 - 16th August 1998". Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Seven Years in Tibet, RocketMan, Boogie Nights, Gang Related, Washington Square, 1997". Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  7. ^ "Jim Belushi Talks Tupac, Cannabis, and Sports Medicine". 28 October 2019.

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