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Gridiron Gang
DVD disk
01.16.2007 By: Sturdy
Gridiron Gang order
Director:
Phil Joanou

Actors:
Dwayne ďThe RockĒ Johnson
Xzibit
Kevin Dunn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A juvenile detention center director puts together a football team in hopes of turning the inmates around. Through the process, he and his team learn valuable lessons about life on and off the football field.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Itís really hard to have an original story about high school sports. The genre is riddled with clichťs and sappy stories. So when I entered GRIDIRON GANG, I wasnít expecting much. However, much to my surprise, they managed to tell a tired story with heart and genuineness that has been lacking in recent high school sports movies.

The story is one weíve seen before. We know about the underprivileged, yet talented kids that just need a break in life. What was refreshing was the creative metaphors the events on the football field had with the individual characters real life situations. Also, the performances were pretty good, which kept the audience interested enough, even if the originality did not. I canít say Iím a big fan of The Rock, but he did a decent job of playing the ex-football player turned motivator. Of course, thatís not really a big stretch for an ex-football player turned actor.

All in all, GRIDIRON GANG is a motivational story that doesnít completely beat you over the head with sappiness and melodramatic acting. Thereís a lot of good football scenes and all of the main characters are given a fair amount of screen time to get their stories across. I really liked the fact the filmmakers didnít waste time on stories we didnít care about (like the red tape involved with getting uniforms), but still took the time to touch on them so we didnít ask what happened. There were a lot of stories to talk about and the director and screenwriter did a good job of keeping them in check and focusing on the ones that were the most interesting.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Phil Joanou and Jeff Maguire: These two guys are pretty interesting and they offer a lot of good insight into the making of the film. It would have been nice to have The Rock or other cast members involved in the commentary, but this is a good listen nonetheless.

Deleted Scenes (23:09): All of these scenes were pretty decent, but I have to say Iím glad they were cut. Itís clear these were character-driving scenes, but it would have ruined the pacing of the film. Either way, theyíre worth a look if youíre a fan of the film

Gridiron Gang Football Training (6:13): All of the players were put through a football camp to prepare them for the movie. This feature is pretty much what you expect, but itís a decent addition.

Phil Joanou Profile (4:08): This featurette is a look at the director, Phil Joanou. Itís kind of funny that a movie starring The Rock and focusing on inner city black kids, was directed by a guy that looks like a skinny Ron Howard. If you can get past that, the featurette is pretty decent and he talks about how the film came to be.

The Rock Takes the Field (4:10): The Rock puts on the pads and a helmet for about five minutes in the film and they have a four minute featurette documenting that fact. Itís ok, but strictly for fans of The Rock.

There are also some Previews and a Multi-angle scene
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Itís been a while since weíve had a good football movie (I didnít like FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), so GRIDIRON GANG was a welcome change. I wouldnít say it was great, but itís a good flick and should be enough for any sports-movie fans.
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