Gridiron Gang (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner31/01/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 125 mins

Watchable, decently made drama with some strong performances, but the script is disappointing given the real-life story behind the film.

What's it all about?
An inspirational teacher movie, based on a true story and inspired by a documentary (which we see clips of during the closing credits). Gridiron Gang stars Dwayne - The Rock - Johnson as juvenile detention centre guard Sean Porter, who realises that 75 per cent of his gang-member inmates will either return to prison or get killed on the streets in gang-related violence.

An ex-high school football player himself, Sean decides to turn his multi-racial teenage crims into a football team, hoping to break down some gangland barriers and teach them something about pride and teamwork. Several cliche-laden setbacks occur and the authorities keep threatening to shut down the programme, but when the team realise that they might have a shot at the play-offs, the inspirational teacher movie cliches are swapped for sports movie cliches instead.

The Good
Johnson is an extremely charismatic actor but it's a shame the role doesn't allow him to flex his comedy muscles as well as his physical ones. He's also not quite as good at the inspirational speeches (of which there are several) but you do at least get the feeling that he genuinely cares about the kids.

The supporting performances are good particularly Jade Yorker as Willie, the gang member whose story forms the main sub-plot. However, the film completely wastes Xzibit in an underwritten role as Sean's assistant coach.

The Bad
The main problem is that the film struggles to do anything original with its matching sets of cliches and as a result its emotional climaxes don't really pay off. This is a shame because, as the documentary clips show, the characters were closely based on real people with real stories.

Worth seeing?
The Rock's presence means that this is never less than watchable, but you'll probably come out of it wishing you had watched the documentary instead.

Film Trailer

Gridiron Gang (12A)
Be the first to review Gridiron Gang...
image
01 Annie (tbc)

Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne

image
02 Paddington (tbc)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
03 Get Santa (tbc)

Jim Broadbent, Warwick Davis , Rafe Spall

image
04 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (12A)

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

image
05 Taken 3 (tbc)

Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

Content updated: 23/11/2014 19:47

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

The Imitation Game (12A)

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this dramatic look at the life and work of Alan Turing during his time at Bletchley Park.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films