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Film / Strapped

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Strapped is a 1993 American crime drama film directed by Forest Whitaker. It stars Bokeem Woodbine as Diquan Mitchell, rapper Fredro Starr of the hip-hop group Onyx as his best friend Bamboo, and Michael Biehn as Detective Matthew McRae.

The film follows the life of Diquan Mitchell, an ex-con who attempts to go straight with his girlfriend, Latisha Jordan. However, this comes to a screeching halt when Latisha is arrested for dealing crack to an undercover cop. In an attempt to get her charges dropped, Diquan cuts a deal with weapons cop Matthew McRae to turn in the most prominent guns dealers in Brooklyn. When the district attorney decides that the results are insufficient, lots of backstabbing and manipulation ensues to achieve the goals of those involved in the deal.


  • Anti-Hero: Both Diquan and McRae are using dirty methods to meet their rather humble needs.
  • Anyone Can Die: Even kids!
  • The Atoner: Diquan Mitchell is an ex-convict attempting to go straight with his girlfriend and baby.
  • Batman Gambit: Upon finding out that he's been sold out to the police, Ben rats on Bamboo since he believes he's the one who did it and not Diquan.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New York City, particularly Brooklyn seems to be filled with unrepentant thugs (like Bamboo) as well as people who deal in drugs and guns.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bamboo doesn't succeed in killing Diquan and Latisha is safe with the baby but Diquan is now behind bars for a murder he didn't commit (the murder at the very beginning of the film), and gun dealers are still on the streets, as further proven by Ben selling some weapons to a man in the epilogue.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal one, previously owned by Chucky, a kid in Diquan's building who shoots and kills another kid he got into an altercation with. Diquan confiscates it from him and hides it in his room, later using it to shoot back at Bamboo when the latter comes to his apartment wanting to kill him for setting him up.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Diquan to just about every guns dealer he befriends and does business with. This is justified considering that it's all part of a deal to get them off the streets and get his girlfriend out of jail.
    • He also sells out Ben to the cops and makes Bamboo take the fall for it.
  • Death of a Child: Not once, but twice.
    • A boy that Chucky has a fight with gets shot down by him.
    • In a fit of rage, Bamboo accidentally shoots a little girl in a store when threatening the local Korean shopkeeper. Over a sandwich.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Latisha ended up in jail thanks to selling crack to get Diquan a leather coat. Mind you, this is not too long after Diquan starts to turn his life around after getting out of jail.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bamboo attempts to put a hole through Mr. Kim's head simply for allegedly not preparing a sandwich the same way he did for the guy before him.
  • Foil: Diquan and Bamboo are like night and day. While Diquan limits his demographic to fellow arms dealers, Bamboo has no qualms about selling guns to anybody paying, even ''kids''.
  • Genre Savvy: Diquan's mother instantly realizes that Diquan's in trouble when Bamboo shows up to their door, not long after Diquan hastily forces Latisha to pack her things to leave.
  • Get Out!: Diquan's mother understandably doesn't take it very well when she discovers his absurdly high amount of cash from what she presumes to be drugs (it's actually guns).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Bamboo is basically the New York O-Dog in that the slightest form of disrespect towards him will be met with gunfire. The deli owner, or more appropriately the poor little girl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time learns this the hard way.
  • Harmful to Minors: Chucky, a kid that lives in the same building as Diquan, owns a revolver and uses it to murder a kid he gets into a fight with very early into the movie.
    • Bamboo is perfectly fine with selling guns to children, which disgusts Diquan, especially since he has a baby on the way.
    • And, of course, there is the senseless death of that sweet little girl in the deli thanks to Bamboo.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted, sadly. Children are on full display here, and not just as extras. In fact, the only two deaths in this film are children being murdered, the first one being killed by a child.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Diquan participates in the guns trade as well as conspiring with the police to sell out his traders to raise enough money to get Latisha out of jail and move with her and the baby to Connecticut.
  • Idiot Ball: Ben never once considers that maybe, just maybe Diquan, the one who was present in almost all of his gun trades with Bamboo might be the one who snitched on him considering that he never once bought a gun from him and just awkwardly stood in the background, only once attempting to purchase a gun only to be shot down by him due to distrust.
  • Mama Bear: Diquan's mother is a very caring and compassionate woman who constantly worries about her son and always has his best interest at heart. She's distraught upon finding his money stash, believing it's from selling drugs and catches on quickly when Bamboo shows up to her door asking to speak with Diquan as the latter is hastily trying to get out of New York with Latisha.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Diquan's large amount of money which his mother discovers and nearly kicks him out for is not from selling drugs, but from guns. It doesn't necessarily make it better but he's doing it for a good cause.
  • Profiling: It wouldn't be a hood movie without a racist Korean store owner. Mr. Kim runs the local deli, and apparently doesn't give thugs like Bamboo the respect of giving them proper sandwiches like he does decent folk.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Bamboo waves a gun around with his finger on the trigger in a store, initially threatening the cashier before accidentally shooting a little girl when she makes a sudden loud noise behind him.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bamboo is the Hot-Blooded, almost Ax-Crazy red oni to Diquan's calm, Nice Guy blue oni.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Bamboo finds out that Diquan was the one who actually snitched on Ben and made him take the fall for it, getting his own operation found out. Once he's out of jail, he immediately goes up to Diquan's apartment to kill him. Thankfully, Diquan survives.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Ben calls Bamboo a "nigger" when threatening him over allegedly selling him out to the police. It's rather ironic (or perhaps telling) that pretty much his whole consumer base is young black men, and he even happily does business with one in the epilogue scene.
  • Verbed Title
  • We Used to Be Friends: Diquan and Bamboo's friendship ends tragically when Diquan sets up the latter as the person who rats out his fellow arms trader Ben to the police.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "Hero" is generous, but Diquan wastes no time calling out Bamboo for selling a gun to a ten-year-old boy.
    Bamboo: He ain't your kid, a'ight, man?
    Diquan: He might kill my kid, man!