After a botched mission in Cuba, professional mercenary Shale and his crew Joey Six, Hollan, Rem, and Wellman head home to Miami, Florida, where Shale is reunited with his fiance Jane Hetzko, who is a history teacher at Columbus High School in Miami. Some of Janes students happen to be members of a street gang known as the Kings of Destruction (KOD), led by Juan Lacas, who has been terrorizing Jane. After Janes kneecap is broken by a big seminole named Bull, she tells Shale that she believes Lacas ordered the attack, so Shale goes undercover as Janes substitute, and initially, Jane has no idea that Shale is doing this. At the school, Shale meets principal Claude Rolle, librarian Hannah Dillon, and english and drama teacher Darrell Sherman. It turns out that Lacas is one of Janes students. As Shale investigates the attack on Jane, he discovers that drugs are being circulated into the school. Shale even investigates local drug kingpin Johnny Glades, who may or may not have someone inside the school distributing the drugs for him. Lives are threatened as Shale investigates and sets out to clean up the crime infested school.
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I have to agree with the majority. This film is not very good; badlydirected, sloppy script, tedious stereotypes, and cliched throughout. But inmy opinion Tom Berenger just about saved it. He is an EXCELLENT actor & Idon't understand why his career stalled. I guess that's just the nature ofHollywood. The scene where Berenger has just beaten up a pair of gangstersand the Principal asks him to apologise to them stands out in particular."Oh, that'll be the $@#%Â£$& day." This is what a GOOD actor can do with evena throwaway line. My own Drama teacher was fond of saying: "Don't just DOsomething. STAND there." Berenger's been unfairly criticised for a "leaden"performance, but I think it was intentional - and perfect! It showed thegravity of Shale's personality. He's a dark & serious guy. I was also amazedto see that Berenger was 47 when this movie was made. I'm 20 years youngerand in (much) worse shape. I was also glad to see Luis Guzman in this film,though he was completely wasted. Anyone who's seen him play "Pachanga" inCarlito's Way will know how fantastic he is in the hyperactive/psychoticsupporting role; yet he hardly had a single line. Crazy! My biggestcriticism of The Substitute is something I haven't noticed anyone elsemention; so here goes. Where the Hell were the Miami Police!!!!!! Here youhave a school absolutely awash with drugs and gangsters, assault rifles,unemployed kids driving BMW 735s, teachers being threatened, attacked andmurdered etc etc - yet not a cop in sight? So, mega-disappointing. Irecently saw Berenger in the latest series of Law & Order. He played anageing FBI Agent trying to take the blame for his teenage daughter whocommits a murder. Another stunning performance and it's a real shame hehasn't got the major roles he deserves.
I was a teacher at a California high school when "Substitute" was released in theaters and I didn't care for it at all. It was ridiculous. There were no unruly kids running amok at my school, everything was nice and quiet.Then the records office was firebombed. Then I had to wrestle a gun away from a student threatening a classmate. Later, it fell to me to disarm and detain four khaki-dressed Nazi youths on campus looking to attack our black students. According to police, the four were part of a larger group causing trouble.What happened to that nice quiet school?
Shale is a substitute teacher at a school where the headmaster importsdrugs. The pupils soon learn that he isn't to messed with. He refuses toteach one pupil in his class who helps the headmaster with the drugs. ThenShale finds out more and then tries to defeat the headmaster. If you'relooking for a great action film look no further. 7 out of10.
This review is from: The Substitute/The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All (DVD) Just what I wanted ... in perfect condition ... well packed and arrival time ... swift! Recommend highly. Could not have been any happier with this item.
"FX" director Robert Mandel's urban crime thriller "The Substitute" fuses elements of "Blackboard Jungle" with "The Equalizer." In "Blackboard Jungle," a teacher (Glenn Ford) tangled with savage, inner-city youth. In the CBS-TV thriller series "The Equalizer," an urban security expert allowed his clients to resume life without fear from assailants.Tom Berenger stars as a covert operations specialist on holiday who finds himself back into the classroom to rumble with a drug czar and his killers. The action is as fast and as furious as one of the submachine guns fired in this larger-than-life, but exciting exercise in educational reform. Mandel and "Street Trash" scenarist Roy Frumkes, "Substitute 2" scribe Rocco Simonelli, and "Cat People" writer Alan Ormsby have created an entertaining, suspenseful, sometimes amusing, melodrama with a minor surprise or two. "Ghost Busters" star Ernie Hudson registers splendidly as a corrupt high school principal who abuses his authority by allowing sales of narcotics on his premises.An earnest, forthright teacher Jane Hetzko (Diane Venora of "True Crime") confronts high-ranking gang-banger Juan Lacas (Marc Anthony of "Hackers") during a campus brawl, and he doesn't like the way that she talks to him so he threatens her. Later, as Jane is jogging by herself along the beach, a thuggish Seminole confronts her and cracks one of her knee caps with a bat. Jane's off-again, on-again boyfriend Jonathan Shale (Tom Berenger of the "Sniper" movies)tangles briefly with the brute before the brute escapes. Jane lands in the hospital and Shale takes care of her. Shale calls for Jane's usual substitute, but the man isn't available. Instead, Shale gets one of his mercenary buddies, Rem (Luis GuzmÃ¡n of "Anger Management"), to put him into the school's computer system as James Smith with three diplomas from prestigious Ivy League universities. Shale has the time to devote to Jane's problem, because his men and he have completed a mission that attracted too much international attention and he has to cool it for a while. Meantime, he keeps his surviving commandos in line and out of harm's way. A job to guard drug shipments comes up, but once our virtuous hero learns that he would be killing to ensure the safe passage of narcotics, he turns the job down cold and reprimands his comrade, Joey 6 (Raymond Cruz of "The Rock") for setting up the interview.Instead, Shale masquerades as a substitute school teacher when he cannot get an actual substitute for Jane. He assembles his team and tells them that where drugs are concerned, money can be found in large quantities. This serves as their inducement to mobilize their special skills. Along the way, another caring teacher, Mr. Darrell Sherman (Glenn Plummer of "Saw 2") gets in the way of the villains, particularly Claude Rolle (Ernie Hudson of "Ghost Busters") and pays the ultimate price. The heroes and the villains turn the high school into a battlefield. The villains have stashed a lifetime's worth of cocaine in the school's maintenance garage and Hollan (William Forsythe of "Once Upon A Time in America") rigs it up with explosives so when the bad guys go to retrieve it, they are blown up. Not all of the good guys survive this bullet-riddled shoot'em up. Raymond Cruz is quite good and William Forsythe plays another one of his hot-tempered maniacs. He is fast becoming the American equivalent of Klaus Kinski. "The Substitute" ranks as an above-average thriller.
I was up late flicking through the channels the other night, and stumbledacross The Substitute on HBO. Good grief in heaven this one is a stinker!There were several points during the movie where I wanted to turn the TVoff, but just couldn't - I was stuck in a kind of personal nightmare,unableto believe how bad this movie was.This is one of the worst written, worst directed, worst acted movies Ihaveever seen. Once again an inner city high school is portrayed sostereotypically. Once again Tom Berenger plays a mindless Van Dammewannabe. Once again the writing in an action movie is so bad that it isunintentionally funny. I suppose that's what kept me going: this moviewasso bad it was funny.From a pure action standpoint, the scene where Tom Berenger confronts thepunks in the library is telling. The punks are running with guns, helpedbythe principal's security guards, through a PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL.That is just the beginning of the absurdities present in this film.Not quite as bad as Child's Play 3: Chucky Gets Lucky, or Leprechaun (tiedfor worst movie ever made), but not far from it.
First of all whats with this DVD including #1 and #3. What happened to the second movie. The best part of #3 is that apparently halfway through the movie changes who the bad guys are. I think the original script was used and after about 40 minutes the director realized there were only 2 pages of script left. So the last 1/2 of the movie was written and the 2 were badly stapled together - I mean come on whats with the voiceover at the
If you've seen "Death Wish", "The Principal", "Dangerous Minds", "187",etc., then you'll know what to expect, and will enjoy "The Substitute"."High School High" is also one example, but since that was mostlycomedy, at least when Jon Lovitz was on-screen, that one doesn't reallycount. On the surface, this is formula, but what's interesting is thatunlike the aforementioned movies, or any other similar movie, this onedoesn't turn the students into achievers, and the teacher doesn't takeanyone under his wing. It's basically a Stallone, or a Schwarzeneggar,or a Seagall movie disguised as a movie about a school in the city.Also, you don't immediately realize the principal is part of the gangactivity. I enjoyed this movie not just because it's formula, but alsobecause of some unexpected moments, too. I'll have to say though, thatBerenger is no Stallone or Schwarzeneggar. I was expecting more fromthe character. And the scenes with just him and Diane Venra aren't allthat interesting, because they don't have any purpose, other than toremind us she is recuperating, all because of one of her students.*** out of ****
An entertaining film with decent acting, dialogue, and some action toward the end. The widescreen color picture is very clear and pleasant.
While this movie isn't the greatest example of it's genre, it is a veryfun film.I started out with fairly low expectations. But the story conceptsounded good so I thought I would give it a try. A few actors were toostiff, and one was too much of a ham, the rest of the cast gave fairlyto very solid performances.I know some viewers liked the idea of teachers finally getting back atthe bad students. That was only a minor concern to me. What I liked wasthe military assault specialist that discovers that he has a taste forteaching. I also like the idea that everyone is trying to figure outwhom he is working for when he is working for himself. I didn't likethe way most of his team dies in the final engagement.On the whole, it was much better than I was expecting and I wouldrecommend it for people who want an interesting action movie with somefunny moments but don't want to have to think much while watching it.
I saw this film on telly a few nights ago (in March 2006) and ended updevoting 4 and a half hours watching both part one and part two of itbecause it was so engrossing. Tom Berenger plays the head of amercenary team who return home from Cuba after a failed mission to findout that his girlfriend, a high school teacher has been injured duringa high-school raucous. He (Berenger) decides to investigate by joiningthe school as a high school substitute teacher when she (thegirlfriend) is out sick. What he soon finds out is that thegang-banging rowdy school is corrupt from top to bottom. The school'sbasement is being used as a drug haven in which the principal of theschool (played by perpetual-principal in films Ernie Hudson) is thering leader. The rest of the film is spent on Berenger's charactertrying to infiltrate the scheme while many of his beloved come in harmsway. J-lo's 3rd husband, Latin music singing sensation Mark Anthonyappears in this film as a convincing teenage gang-banging leader. Iguess what they say is true after all, it's amazing the sort of thingsyou would find hiding in dark corners! :)
The series gets worse and worse. Goes from an important problem (drugs) and somewhat decent movie, to a not so important problem (carjackings) and not so good movie to a really not important one (steroids? seriously, come on) and awful movie, to one that was a fraction of the first and second ones (Just gangs) and a movie you'd need a gun to my head to make me watch. I just hope they continue the series with a secret cd burning organization, or maybe just counterfeit purses. I'm sure whatever they do it'll go straight to video yet again.
Nothing beats a teacher putting a bunch of wannabe tough guys in there place and making it look easy. Starts out with a former mercanary/marines girlfriend being assaulted by a gang from a local high school she teaches at. Completely fed up, Shale decides to take the matter into his own hands and fakes some credentials and becomes a sub at her high school. Highly recommended. You'll find yourself rooting for Shale the whole way.
This review is from: The Substitute/The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All (DVD) very good film. if you liked the first two substitute movies you will like this one too. also if you liked Ivonova on Babylon 5 the same actress is in the cast and provides a great performance too.the action is very high and flows well. does not have any real dead spaces and the story flows smoothly.
A very good movie, Substitute, brings to the screen the story of a professional mercenary who goes undercover posing as a substitute teacher in an effort to shed light on the kneecapping of his fiancee, a history teacher at a Miami-Dade drug-infested high school, by gang members. What he finds though might be a bit more than he had anticipated...There is obvious similarity between Substitute and Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeifer (and which was released the previous year) in having teachers in classrooms with unruly students ending up winning them over. Tom Berenger, Marc Antony (!), Ernie Hudson and the rest of the cast, with the exception of Diane Venora who is not really that great in her role as Jane Hetzko, have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are outstanding to say the least! All the actors, without exceptions, give it their 100% and it really shows allowing for a highly entertaining movie.The plot, the setting, and the music are all EXCELLENT. Overall, it is a movie definitely worth watching, as it will surely provide for an evening's entertainment!
This is a film that reminded me a lot of The Principal (with JamesBelushi),for it is also about crimes at a high school. Nonetheless this film isdifferent than the Principal. It is not better I guess but it is quitesolid, still. The story is OK, for it is sometimes a bit obvious what isgoing to happen next. The acting is pretty good and the action is prettygood too. What this film lacks though is serious identification with acharacter. You are not really touched the deaths of several good guys andthat is a pity, for there are one or two elements of emotion in this one,that could have been developed more. Also you were not at the edge of yourseat during the film. What I really liked though was, that there were somefunny elements in this film too, that made it a bit lighter to theheart.Small 7 (like 6,5) out of 10
I watched theses movies and think that they were great. Real good material to watch. The action and the story was wonderful.
In short...this movie sucks. But, it doesn't necessarily warrant a "DO NOT WATCH" badge. This is the pinnacle of mid-90's generic action flicks. The kind of film that bring out the most random encounters for the sake of action. The kind of film with dialogue so bad, it's awesome. THIS is one of those films. Riding on the success of "Dangerous Minds", where every movie studio wanted to shoot an "inner-city high-school drama"; The Substitute adds a twist....the teacher is a mercenary.Again, this movie blows chunks hard; but for those of you who enjoy the occasional hilarity of such a film...look no further. MAJOR MST3K potential here.
****SPOILERS**** "The Substitute" starts off like a solid inner citydrama about violence in a high school in Miami with teacher JaneHetzko, Diane Venora, after being threatened by one of the schoolsviolent thugs Juan Laucas, Marc Anthony, goes to the schools principalClaude Rolle, Ernie Hudson, for help. Only to be told that there'snothing that he can do, how many times have we heard that before. Afterhaving it out again with the same Laucas and his gang as she was goinghome Jane is later attacked while she was jogging by the beach and wascrippled with a smashed kneecap. Jane's boyfriend Shale, Tom Berenger, who happened to be an unemployedmercenary looking for work got a job at the school, in fact the verysame class, that Jane worked at as a substitute teacher after a friendof his working in the Miami record office falsified a background checkfor Shale as a licensed teacher. Shale, calling himself Mr. JamesSmith, after breaking a number of fingers and wrists got the disruptivestudents in line in no time at all. The movie starts to take a turn when Shale/Mr.Smith notices thatsomething just isn't right about the school with students drivingaround with $50,000.00 BMW's and wearing as much as $100,000.00 goldwatches, including principal Rolle. That it's obvious to Shale/Mr.Smiththat there's more going on in the school then just readin' ritin' andrithmetic. Implausible action drama that does have it's moments as Tom Berengerbattles school thugs and drugs pushers. With the high school principalRolle being the #1 drug dealer getting his drug supply from a brutalIndian drug gang, The Glades mob. With the drugs being distributed byRolle's personal "Deans List" the gang that runs and terrorizes theschool, Columbia High, the "Kings of Destruction" or K.O.D. TomBerenger is quite good as the Soldier of Fortune, Shale, turnedconcerned citizen and high school teacher, Mr. Smith, who with the help of his mercenary friends cleans up theschool and smashes the K.O.D gang and Glades drug mob in the processjust for good measures. Action-packed movie that looks more like aSteven Seagel or Burce Willis slam-bang action flick then a film aboutschool violence like "Blackboard Jungle". Unlike in most of these type of action movies with Seagal & Willis,especially Seagal, where the hero completely overpowers his oppositionwith very little or almost no damage to himself the hero in "theSubstitute", Mr.Smith/Shale, takes a lot more then he dishes out fromhis opponents. Which makes him more human and sympathetic to the moviesaudience who can easily identify with him. Shale/Smith is also very sweet with his girlfriend Jane and does showgenuine concern for his students as well as his co-workers in theschool so that even with the somewhat unbelievable plot Tom Berenger'sacting does make you forget just how ridicules the movie really is.Diane Venora is effective as Berenger's girlfriend as well as MarcAnthony as Juan Laucas the K.O.D gang leader. Ernie Hudson as thecorrupt school principal and former corrupt cop Rolle played it alittle to much and it made you wonder how he's been getting away withhis drug dealing operations. Rolle doesn't seem to be too concerned ifanyone knows about them to the point where he has over a hundred kilosof coke hidden in the schools boiler room. He also uses the K.O.D toknock off anyone who's a threat to his drug operation in his highschool like when he tried to knock off Shale/Mr.Smith, without success,without any fear of the local police. In regards to his drug dealingRolle doesn't at all seem to care or be afraid of an FBI or federalinvestigation. The final shot-out in the school with Shale and his mercenary friendswith the Glade mob & K.O.D gang was as good as anything that you wouldsee in this type of movie. With Shale's on and off again mercenaryfriend and buddy Hollan, William Forsythe, as a stand out as he morethen makes up for all the trouble that he caused Shale all throughoutthe movie.
This review is from: The Substitute [VHS] (VHS Tape) Order arrived on time and in the condition described. Berenger provides an action hero in this first of the 4 Substitute movies. The premise is sort of a stretch but if you can accept it, the rest follows a reasonable path. The character has someone else hack into computers to give him credentials but doesn't have the build up to explain how he could be a substitute teacher. The number of people in his "crew" and fire fights that followed were more realistic in: that many bullets flying around odds are people are going to get hit and some die. Lots of action movies have the heroes going through a hail of bullets and not getting a scratch. The follow on Substitute movies [2 - 4] had Berenger replaced with Treat Williams who had a better background for the character to explain how he could be a teacher. Not sure why he didn't continue on with the series. He did go on to the Sniper series [3 movies] some years later.