Sunday, April 8, 2012

Class of 1999 2: The Substitute (1994)

Class of 1984 and Class of 1999 are both cult films, not really sequels to each other, but focusing on the same subject-anarchy in schools. I haven't seen either of them, so I can't compare them to this film, Class of 1999 2: The Substitute.

The film is about a lone education robot who goes to a Monroeville school, striving to put the violent students in line, by any means necessary...

The film opens at a school, where a gang of students (led by a guy who hides the fact that he's probably in his 30's by wearing make-up) have skipped class and are spraypainting the halls of the school. Substitute teacher John Bolen (Sasha Mitchell) comes across them and demands that they go back to class. They refuse and he beats the crap out of them. Bolen is called into the principal's office and yelled at for what he did. Before the principal can finish talking, Bolen calmy breaks his neck. The gang from before are in a car discussing plans to deal with Bolen when Bolen himself shows up, hooking the car dors shut. He tosses a grenade in and walks away, saying a one-liner as the car blows up.

Then we cut to G.D. Ash (Rick Hill), an 'education inspector' who's on the hunt for the last of Dr. Forest's (Class of 1999's main villain) battle droids ("cold...or whatever-blooded killers"). Sure, Rick Hill is Deathstalker and all, but don't let that make you think that he does anything in this movie other than sit in his car, relaying exposition of the first movie (along with stock footage) into his dictaphone.

Jenna (Caitlin Dulany), a teacher at a different school, in Monroeville, arives at school and a dead cat is thrown onto her car by Sanders (Gregory West), a brutal gang leader student, who Jenny saw murder another student. Jenny is called to the principal's office, where the principal (John Cothran Jr.) and her boyfriend Emmett (Nick Cassavetes) try to dissuade her from testifying against Sanders in court, as she's the only one who's convinced that it wasn't an accident. Jenny angrily refuses and goes back to class.

Bolen is teaching a class and is constantly being interrupted by a student Dennis Tiller (Bernie Pock), especially when Tiller drops a study book on the ground, making Bolen have a war flashback. Bolen angrily tells Tiller to go to the principal's office. Bolen leaves the class and follows Tiller, who's gone onto the school's roof and takes some drugs. Bolen goes up onto the roof, grabs Tiller and after beating him up, he throws him off the building. "Sadistic behaviour should not be condoned-especially if you're not trained to do it properly!".

When class is over, Jenny joins Bolen for lunch. While Bolen's behaviour seems odd, Jenny doesn't think anything of it. Later, Jenny is jogging around when she is attacked by Sander's and his gang. Before they can rape her, they are scared away by Bolen. Later at night, Bolen finds one of Sander's thugs, Ice, and burns him alive against a gas main.

Emmet readies his grounds for a paintball excursion for the school. And in the meanwhile, the sheriff (Jack Knight) investigates the recent murders and declares them all accidents. The sheriff also notices Ash skulking around and scans his barcode license plate.

The charred body of Ice is found and the sheriff thinks that an overprotective Emmett is responsible. Emmett is arrested, while Bolen continues killing solitary students, until he's ready for 'a mass kill' as Ash says. Emmett's alibi checks out and he's released. Soon the paintball excursion is ready to go and Bolen is ready for his mass kill...

This is a fun film, but I haven't seen Class of 1984 or 1999 and even I can tell that this is NOT a true sequel! For one, there's barely any focus on the violence and anarchy caused by students in this 'future', they just exist. In fact, they're not even particularly rebellious-Bolen tells his class to stop mucking around, sit down and listen, and they do! This is meant to be a continuation to the movie where classes were so bad that Roddy Mcdowall had to teach them at gunpoint? Although, despite the students not being particularly violent, Bolen still manages to kill probably half the school at the paintball excursion! And another thing-this is a sequel to Class of 1999, a movie about psycho killer robots who slaughter students, and there's a grand total of NO ROBOTS IN THIS MOVIE!

Luckily for this movie though, the direction its plot takes is actually good. For one, it's not an abrupt twist, there are clues here and there to Bolen's true origins. And how could you possibly hate on an outcome that leads to Rick Hill actually leaving his car in this movie! Although the ending is immediately ruined the moment the movie kills off Rick Hill's character! That is something you just don't do, you don't kill off Deathstalker! (If he's the film's hero that is). The rest of the film beyond that is good, but my enjoyment had driven right down! Also the ending isn't very good and doesn't really make any sense.

As for the acting, it's all decent, though Sasha Mitchell acts woodenly (I'm not sure if he's just not a good actor in this, or if he deliberately acted like that because he's playing a robot) but he's still fun, and he gets a few one-liners throughout-some better than others. The film is terrible at trying to convince it's audience that any of the actors playing the students are anything under 40! While some probably looked convincing, the main teenagers are not! The most unconvincing is Gregory West (Sanders) whose first film role is listed by IMDb as 1967, so even if he was playing a kid in that movie, he's still over 30 in this!

The kills are few and far between, and Bolen only kills a minimum of ten kids until the climax. The kills are decent though (and the director apparently had a fixation with having Sasha Mitchell standing still and stone-cold in front of explosions)

So in closing, Class of 1999 2: The Substitute is a good movie, but absolutely NOT a worthy sequel!

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