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Gridiron Gang
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: The Rock, Xzibit, Jade Yorker, Setu Taase, Leon Rippy, Kevin Dunn
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Web Site: www.gridirongang-movie.com
Kiddie Movie: There's shooting and gang stuff.  Leave them at home.
Date Movie: Only if she loves The Rock, or a decent movie about reforming criminals.
Gratuitous Sex: Talk.
Gratuitous Violence: There are some shootings.
Action: The football games.
Laughs: There are a couple of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Any of the shooting scenes.
Memorable Quote: It had to deal with the Camp Kilpatrick team being able to play in the playoffs, but I think it was something like "What if we could?"
Directed By: Phil Joanou
Produced By: Neal H. Moritz, Lee Stanley

Gridiron Gang
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 2:00 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
The folks in Hollywood couldnít ask for an easier story to tell, that being the story of Sean Porter and Malcolm Moore starting a football team in a youth juvenile center, and for Hollywood, the story was already written in the likes of a documentary about Camp Kilpatrick, in California, where bad kids end up, and some of them ending up not so bad after they learn to be a part of a football team. I will admit that I donít nearly have the initiative to find out if the movie "Gridiron Gang" takes any liberties with the true story, but letís just get to the story in the movieÖ

The Rock plays Sean Porter (Iím going to call him The Rock from now on, instead of Dwayne Johnson, because I read that he got the name rightís back from Vince McMahon, but Iím sorry, I digress). In any case, at Camp Kilpatrick, a juvenile center in California, itís mostly filled with gang members, or just all-around bad dudes who have lost direction, and Sean begins to see that as much as he tries to rehabilitate them the status-quo way, for the most part once the kids get back on the street they either die, end up back at juvie, or end up in the big pokey because they arenít teens anymore. He and his other "Camp Counselor," Malcolm (Xzibit), decide that what these kids really need is learning, like football-team learning, and so we get introduced to a bunch of the dudes at the Camp for a variety of reasons. At the top of the list for reforming, at least in the eye of Sean, is Willie Weathers (Jade Yorker), and so Sean gets boys at the camp to actually join the team, then Sean figures out a way to get the team into an actual football league in the area, and then Sean actually gets the kids to learn how to win, how to lose, and how to be better people so that they donít end up being back on the streets as losers, on a path to die.

The story is simple in its direction, taking a bunch of troubled teens on the path to ruin and changing their stories into lives of being productive, but I will give you this, "Gridiron Gang" doesnít sugar-coat the worlds these teens come from, nor how they end up at Camp Kilpatrick. Sadly, most of it deals with the land of gangs and guns, and for some of Sean Porterís players, some of them do go back to the ways of gangs and guns, but the uplifting side of the movie is that for a better majority had there not been a football team, they see a different side of life, that life might be better lived than on a road of turmoil.

The thing that really works in this movie is that it is cast nearly perfectly, starting with The Rock as Sean Porter. All he wants to do is maybe save one kid from ending up back on the bad path, and he found a way to help many more. The Rock comes off great as the man who needs to be a hard-ass, then learns for himself that at times these kids are just kids, and even though they might be at the Camp for shooting someone, they still need to be treated like a kid, because that is the only way they will learn. Those cast for the football team are great, the Camp superiors, Paul (Leon Rippy) and Ted (Kevin Dunn), are fantastic as going from totally skeptical to totally seeing that Sean Porter is making a difference, and even the sad, mother dying storyline sort of worked.

And yet, as much as I was liking "Gridiron Gang," I thought it was really, for whatever reason, about 15 to 20 minutes too long. Some scenes dragged a bit, especially some of the football game scenes, and the film folks seemed to try to get too "slow-motion" dramatic because that is what they thought the football scenes should look like. Look, we get it, itís a football game, just show it.

Anyway, the story is a great one, but I donít think it warrants a full-price ticket, even if The Rock is great in his role. Itís 3 Ĺ stars out of 5 for "Gridiron Gang" from me, and I would highly recommend it for a matinee or a solid DVD rental.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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