Brooklyn. Teacher Trevor Garfield (Jackson) finds '187' scrawled across his notebook - the California penal code number for homicide. It's a death threat from (he thinks) a pupil he's just failed, but the principal won't take heed. Garfield's stabbed by an unseen assailant in the school corridor. A year later and physically healed, he takes a job in South Central LA, with fellow teachers Rowan and Heard. It's another rundown institution. Goaded by another macho homeboy, Cesar (Gonzalez), Garfield decides to play it Cesar's way. Thus far, that Hollywood rarity: an intelligent issue film with a social conscience and a sense of dramatic control. Echoing the trip-hoppy soundtrack, the visuals owe too much to pop video, yet exercise a certain pull. Jackson bears the weight of the film in a constrained, introverted role (terrorised, pertinacious, innocent passion squandered), but a grand resolution and some melodramatic twists and set-pieces undercut the hard-nosed tone.