know how to spell Mustang?"
centre Camp Kilpatrick in California saw the same offenders returning to
the camp or ending up dead on the streets. Sean Porter (The Rock) wants
to change all this and other an alternative to just doing their time and
returning to the gangs or getting caught straight back up in crime. He proposes
that the camp should start an American Football team, with the inmates that
are good enough to be a Mustang joining the local High School League but
can rival gang members work together to win.
Sports movies can
be inspiring and when you mix in social issues then you have a film has
something inspirational to say but can 'Gridiron Gang' make you listen?
When you sit down
to watch a sports movie you know exactly what you are going to get, especially
when we are dealing with Hollywood. A coach is going to take a rag, tag
team of misfits and transform them into a championship winning team. Whether
it is basketball, baseball, ice hockey, soccer or American football, all
it takes is an inspirational coach that believes in them to turn it all
around and make them champions. Factual or fictional, you know exactly what
you are going to get. Can 'Gridiron Gang' be any different?
Based on a true
story and a dramatisation of the 1993 documentary of the same name, this
is the story of the American Football team that transformed the lives of
the inmates of juvenile detention centre Camp Kilpatrick. Camp supervisor
Sean Porter and his assistant Malcolm Moore decide to bring some discipline
and structure into their lives. It also gives them the chance to leave their
gang loyalties behind and work as a team on the field. With confrontations
both off and on the field, Sean Porter had his work cut out for him.
Former WWE superstar
turned movie action star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has been lauded as the
new Schwarzenegger or Stallone, bringing his huge frame and muscles to the
silver screen and recreating the action hero heydays of the 1980s and 90s
but 'Gridiron Gang' gives him the chance to show that he can actually act.
As camp supervisor and coach Sean Porter, he gets the chance to bring a
real life character to the silver screen and give him some more substance
to his acting skills. The movie isn't all about the performance of a former
wrestling superstar however it is about the young cast of up and coming
stars that form the Gridiron Gang. There are standout performances from
Jade Yorker as the most troubled Willie Weathers, Setu Taase as the inmate
with the most anger Junior Palaita and a comedy driven turn from Brandon
Smith as waterboy Bug Wendal.
is another inspirational sports movie about a coach that takes a group of
misfits to the championship gang. This is based on a true story and shows
again how sport can be a way of giving a purpose and goals to wayward individuals.
These stories have become the stable part of Sports movie genre and while
American audience may adore them, they struggle to play in the rest of the
world but there is much to enjoy in this inspirational story.
Presented in Widescreen
1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.
the writer and director
Writer Jeff McGuire and Phil Joanou come together to provide a chatty commentary
for 'Gridiron Gang'. The pair talks about the origins of the project and
the original documentary. They talk passionately about the Camp Kilpatrick
football team and how this is not supposed to be a feel good sports movie
but one that had a real social message. They also reveal how the filmed
at the actual camp itself and how the cast was made up of untried actors
bringing a fresh approach to the story.
Entitled 'Sean in trouble with Biga', 'Willie in jail', 'Sean gets phone
call', 'Dexter criticises Sean', 'Kids write letters', 'Malcolm criticises
Sean', 'Could have played pro-ball', 'Distracted by cheerleaders', 'The
extra point', 'Asking for forgiveness', 'Kelvin scores a touchdown', 'They
want to be cheerleaders', 'Madlock scores a touchdown', 'The big game' and
'Mustang mural', these deleted scenes have optional commentary with writer
Jeff McGuire and director Phil Joanou.
Football Training (6.20 mins)
Director Phil Joanou, stunt/football coordinator Alan Graf, ex-professional
footballer Shane Stanley, screenwriter Jeff McGuire and stars Xzibit, David
Thomas, Mo, Trever O'Brien, James Earl III and Setu Taase talk about the
training they had to go through to be able to show full contact American
football on screen.
Phil Joanou Profile
Screenwriter Jeff McGuire, producer Neal H. Moritz and star Dwayne 'The
Rock' Johnson talk about working with the director and what he brought to
The Rock takes
the Field (4.05 mins)
Director Phil Joanou and stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Xzibit talk
about seeing the Rock back in pads for the first time since his College
Watch the football sequences from five different angles
The DVD package
for 'Gridiron Gang' is one that fans should get a lot of enjoyment out of.
The commentary is very good and the behind the scenes featurettes, while
a little short, cover most aspects of the film's production.
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