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Film / Blood In Blood Out

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Blood In Blood Out (also known as Bound by Honor and Blood In Blood Out: Bound by Honor) is a 1993 American epic crime drama film directed by Taylor Hackford.

Half-Chicano Miklo Velka (Damian Chapa) returns to East Los Angeles and reunites with his cousins Paco Aguilar (Benjamin Bratt) and Cruz Candelaria (Jesse Borrego). Both are members of Vatos Locos, and after proving his worth, Miklo is inducted into the gang.

However, through a tragic set of events, their lives splinter off in different directions.

The Film Has The Following Tropes:

  • A Father to His Men: We see this in Bonafide and Montana. Later, Miklo takes the spot.
  • Actor Allusion: Benjamin Bratt could be considered as the LAPD version of Rey Curtis.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Miklo loses the latter thanks to Paco.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: With the Aryan Vanguard and the Black Guerilla Army wiped out, La Onda has free reign in San Quentin.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: Ex-Marine Paco works in the L.A.P.D.'s Narcotics Division.
  • Bald of Evil: Red Ryder, the boss of the Aryan Vanguard.
  • Best Served Cold: The Aryan Vanguard humiliate Miklo by forcibly removing his leg prosthetic and then throwing it a long distance like a football, forcing him to crawl to it on all fours. He patiently waits until the Mexican Day of the Dead to wipe out both the AV and the B.G.A. He can be seen lying in his prison bed with an oh so satisfied smile on his face even as he knows the murders are going down in the rest of the prison.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The B.G.A. and Aryan Vanguard are wiped out and La Onda takes over the prison with Miklo as its new leader and despite the council being separated to different prisons in the aftermath, it gives them the opportunity to expand their influence. However, Montana is dead due to Miklo and Magic setting him up, and an enraged Paco disowns Miklo for using him to take out their rivals. On the plus side, Cruz reconciles with his family and becomes sober and thanks to a pep talk from Cruz, Paco finally comes to terms that he is responsible for the events leading to Miklo being imprisoned and Cruz getting injured.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Miklo Velka is half-White and half-Chicano. Damian Chapa (Miklo Velka) himself is part-Mexican.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Bonafide's comb. Miklo and Magic make a false copy and send it to a B.G.A. hitman with orders to assassinate Montana.
  • The Chessmaster: Miklo would make both Littlefinger and Ryan O'Reilly proud. Both he and Magic frame the B.G.A. for Montana's murder with a copy of Bonafide's comb. At Paco's behest, Miklo and Bonafide agree to a truce, the B.G.A. joining forces with La Onda against the Aryan Vanguard. Once the Aryan Vanguard were decimated, La Onda took out the B.G.A.
  • Cycle of Revenge: This film is chock full of this.
  • The Dragon: Miklo is this to Montana. After Montana's death, Magic takes this spot.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Miklo went from a wannabe cholo with no renown to being a soldier in La Onda to a member of its ruling council, to leading Onda alongside Magic.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: It does take place in East Los Angeles, after all.
  • Handicapped Badass: Miklo, after losing a leg in a botched robbery.
  • I Have No Son!:
    • Cruz is disowned by his family after Juanito's death. They reconcile some years later.
    • In a show of cousin disowning their cousin, Miklo disowns Paco after the failed robbery. In turn, Paco severs all ties with Miklo following the purge of La Onda's rivals.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Miklo and Magic's reasoning as to why they betrayed Montana.
    Miklo: I loved him.
    Magic: We both loved him. But we did what we had to do. For Onda!
    • Again, Miklo when he tries to explain to a furious Paco as to why he used him to take out Ryder and Bonafide's gangs.
    Paco: You used me. I tried to save your life, and you used me to set up the BGA.
    Miklo: I did what I had to for my brothers to survive.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Par the course when prison shanks are involved.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Miklo pretends to begin blowing Big Al, and shanks him while his guard is down and then make out with the gambling book.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: When the warden splits up La Onda's leadership following the purge of the Aryan Vanguard and the B.G.A., Miklo claims that this is only making Onda grow.
    Miklo: We're gonna spread La Onda gospel Billy Graham-style!
  • It's All My Fault: Paco blames himself for sending Miklo after Spider and Cruz's injured back. For Cruz, it's water under the bridge.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Bonafide digs his fingers underneath a subordinate's ribs to get to the bottom of Montana's murder. The prison officials let it happen, even as the subordinate is screaming in agony, because they also want to find out who's behind Montana's death.
  • Just the First Citizen: Montana is the leader of La Onda but he calls himself simply "The Elected Spokesman". While the seven that make up the council all have an equal vote the majority of them have too much respect for Montana to publicly go against him.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Red Ryder meets his end.
  • Los Angeles: East Los Angeles, where most of the film takes place.
  • Prison Rape: Popeye attempts this on Miklo, but is thwarted by his Onda associates.
  • Scary Black Man: The BGA are obviously this. Their leader, Bonafide, exemplifies the trope to a level far beyond his subordinates. It's helped that he's played by a 6'5" Delroy Lindo sporting an Afro.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Miklo ditches Las Vegas (and his racist father) for East Los Angeles.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Neo-Nazis, to be precise, in the form of the Aryan Vanguard.
  • Threat Backfire: After Miklo kills Big Al, Bob the prison guard confronts Miklo regarding Al's cash and gambling book:
    Bob: If I don't get that damn book and money back, you're not gonna walk off this cell block alive! Do you understand what I'm saying?
    Miklo: Your name's in that book, Bob. If I don't stay real healthy, the warden's gonna find it in his suggestion box.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: Paco is given the choice of prison or joining the Corps. Wisely, Paco chooses the latter.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Paco is irate when he discovers how his incarcerated cousin used him to take out Ryder and Bonafide.
    • Miklo and Magic outplayed Paco, the Aryan Vanguard, the Black Guerilla Army, the prison staff, and even the members of La Onda's inner circle in order to rule San Quentin.
  • We Can Rule Together: Miklo offers this to Paco. Paco refuses.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The film was so long that both theatrical and extended cuts suffer from many loose ends.
    • Miklo’s mother goes AWOL after Juanito’s funeral.
    • Chuy disappears completely after getting kicked out of Cruz’s studio by Paco.
    • Popeye vanishes into thin air after tipping off Miklo’s heist to the police. Even the deleted scene in which Popeye attempts to kills Smokey leaves his fate ambiguous.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Miklo correctly predicts that once Cheap Times (the B.G.A. drug house) is destroyed by Smokey (Carlos' brother) on the Aryan Vanguard's orders, the A.V. would lift their protection from Carlos, allowing the B.G.A. to retaliate by killing Carlos.
    • Once the A.V. is decimated, La Onda turns on the B.G.A.