There’s an old rumour that Ronald Reagan used to study newsreel footage of Adolf Hitler in order to inject his own speeches with the Führer’s aggressive and hypnotic style. Whether true or not, it’s a method Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson looks also to have adopted in order to flesh out his role as the firm-but-fair American football coach whose everyday banter sounds like he’s block-quoting from ‘Triumph of the Will’. This familiar sports-prison hybrid sees a surly band of teenage reprobates taken under the wing of their bleeding-heart trainer who firmly believes that the best way to rehabilitate these boys is with plenty of full-contact team sports. While the nub of the story focuses on the Rock’s volatile relationship with irksome star quarterback Willie Weathers (Jade Yorker), the film also draws naive parallels between the kids’ violent on-field antics and the tit-for-tat LA gang slayings that are getting them locked up in the first place. The point-and-click direction from Phil Joanou (best known for his U2 concert doc, ‘Rattle and Hum’) does little to supply any substance to a yarn that was probably on its last legs to begin with, and while it remains thoroughly inoffensive and well-meaning stuff, it’s so jam-packed with genre clichés and recycled ideas (think ‘Coach Carter’, ‘Bad News Bears’, ‘Wildcats’) that there’s nothing you won’t have seen, thought or heard before.
|Release date:||Friday February 2 2007|
Cast and crew
Brandon Mychal Smith
James Earl III