Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by
The Seattle Times
Although it's overly melodramatic and lacks the poetry and shading that could have turned it into a Latino Godfather, it comes considerably closer to that goal than last year's remarkably similar American Me, in which the central characters were never as carefully or sympathetically drawn. For all its flaws, Taylor Hackford has never directed a more interesting film. [28 May 1993, p.16]
What the movie needed was the kind of dark explosion of star temperament that Sean Penn brought to 1983’s Bad Boys. Still, give Hackford this: He does a vivid job of taking you places you may not think you’d want to go.
A passable motion picture that features several memorable scenes. It's not a masterpiece, but neither is it a waste of time.
Bound by Honor looks and sounds authentic but, like many community wall paintings, it has the manner less of one artist's vision than of a community endeavor. This may explain its singular shortcomings and its redeeming sincerity.
Bound by Honor contains some effective performances, some moments of deeply felt truth, and a portrait of prison life that I assume is accurate. What seems to be missing is a clear idea of why the movie was made, and what the director, Taylor Hackford, wanted to say with it.
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.
Miami Herald
It's surprising to see a three-hour movie about Chicanos being distributed by a major studio, and Hackford had an opportunity to do something special. Instead, he simply gives us more of the same. [30 Apr 1993, p.G5]
At the end, you feel dusty and worn and are prone to think of other talents who gave similar territory much more life.
Los Angeles Times
A sincere attempt at epic filmmaking, it has been unable to translate its aspirations into believable, non-cliched cinema. What unrolls instead is approximately three hours of violent, cartoonish posturing incongruously set in the realistically evoked milieu of East Los Angeles. [30 Apr 1993, p.F1]
In this stereotypically-fuelled moralistic gangster movie, the plot is poor, the acting worse and standing at three hours, proves about three hours too long.

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