May 14, 1979 12:00 PM

Cute, wholesome, all-American Robby (One on One, Ice Castles) Benson as a Chicano? That bit of casting is a blow from which this film about gang wars in the L.A. barrio never recovers. Benson tries to take his character beyond the limits that a swarthy tan, breathy Mexican accent and comical swagger impose on him. The plot is an updated West Side Story, with Sarah (Animal House) Holcomb as a WASPy upper-class girl who falls for him. But the gang is strictly Hollywood, and first-time director Robert Collins fails to produce the visual impact of The Warriors. Counting Boulevard Nights, three gang movies have been released in as many months, but if Walk Proud is any indication, it’s a trend whose time has passed. (PG)

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