Blood in Blood Out

Producer-director Taylor Hackford clearly wants this to be a major cinematic exploration of the Latino experience, from its ponderous near-three-hour length to its more-than-occasional sermonizing. Unfortunately, disjointed storytelling and uneven performances undermine those aspirations.

With:
Damian Chapa Jesse Borrego Benjamin Bratt Enrique Castillo Victor Rivers Delroy Lindo

Producer-director Taylor Hackford clearly wants this to be a major cinematic exploration of the Latino experience, from its ponderous near-three-hour length to its more-than-occasional sermonizing. Unfortunately, disjointed storytelling and uneven performances undermine those aspirations.

With script help from poet and former convict Jimmy Santiago Baca, among others [from a story by Ross Thomas], Hackford – relying on a virtually unknown cast – has blended elements of Boyz N the Hood and The Godfather.

Starting in the early ’70s, the plot centers on three youths and follows them into their early 30s: Paco (Benjamin Bratt), a hot-tempered boxer; Cruz (Jesse Borrego), a gifted painter seemingly destined to escape the barrio; and Miklo (Damian Chapa), their half-white cousin who ultimately becomes the focus when he’s drawn into an interracial turf war in San Quentin.

Blood In Blood Out (the title refers to the code of a prison gang) seems compelled to say something profound but too often stands on a soapbox to do it. Much of the story takes place in prison, unflinchingly exploring some of the same brutal themes touched on in Edward James Olmos’ American Me.

Blood in Blood Out

Production: Hollywood Pictures. Director Taylor Hackford; Producer Taylor Hackford, Jerry Gershwin; Screenplay Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jeremy Iacone, Floyd Mutrux; Camera Gabriel Beristain; Editor Fredric Steinkamp, Karl F. Steinkamp; Music Bill Conti; Art Director Bruno Rubeo

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 174 MIN.

With: Damian Chapa Jesse Borrego Benjamin Bratt Enrique Castillo Victor Rivers Delroy Lindo

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