Substitute, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

This movie is about a drug-infested, gang-controlled high school plus one tough military trained mercenary who decides to tackle the corrupt school system. Shale (Tom Berenger) is an unemployed military agent recently returned from Cuba where he and his team have just completed a covert mission. His girlfriend, Jane Hetzko (Diane Venora), teaches at Columbus High School in Miami, an especially rough school that has been overtaken by the tough Kings of Destruction (K.O.D.) gang. When Jane is viciously attacked and hospitalized, Shale poses as her substitute so he can seek revenge against her attacker. However, when he learns of an alliance between certain school officials and the K.O.D. who are using the school to traffic drugs, Shale calls in his special forces comrades. This fast-paced action thriller has the audience applauding some of its comical Schwarzenegger-style one-liners and action scenes. Although the film's drawn-out gun warfare at the end is very predictable, THE SUBSTITUTE delivers a punch that leaves action-seekers quite satisfied.

The film contains incessant offensive language as well as non-stop violence. Vicious gun warfare, brutal hand-to-hand combat and special forces weaponry provide much blood and gore. Particularly violent are two scenes, one of a woman held at gunpoint and another of a teacher stabbed in the hand and shot at close range. Shale's idea of making the school safe creates more violence as he and his team members confront the K.O.D. in vicious fighting. Gang members spout most of the more than 100 crudities and obscenities, much of it in rap music that is sometimes hard to understand. Though not condoned, drug trafficking is a common campus activity and some students are shown once smoking marijuana in the restroom. One scene in a topless bar, featuring nearly nude women, is the film's only sexually suggestive content. In spite of this, however, THE SUBSTITUTE certainly earns its R rating with filthy language, endless violence and a theme of revenge.

Preview Reviewer: Sandy Nalley
Orion Pictures Corporation, 304 Park Ave., NY, NY 10010

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (26) times - Mild 6, Moderate 20

Obscene Language: Many (82) times - S-word 26, f-word 55, other 1

Profanity: Several (6) times - Regular 5 (JC, GD), Exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (gun warfare, shooting, stabbing, fist fights)

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near nudity in topless bar (scantily clad women)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Several times (drug trafficking, students using marijuana)

Other: Theme of revenge, using violence to fight violence

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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