In another film that is based on a true story, Gridiron Gang is about a juvenile probation officer at a detention camp for teenagers who have gotten in trouble with the law. Sean Porter (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – The Scorpion King, The Mummy Returns) is frustrated by his job that he sees as not contributing in any way to the rehabilitation of these young offenders. The teenagers spend their time at the camp and then return to their gangs. A high percentage of them end up in prison or dead. A former football star, Porter decides that forming a football team and competing against other teams will give the young men a sense of discipline, self-esteem and opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise be presented. Porter and co-worker Malcolm Moore (Xzibit – from television’s Pimp My Car) convince their boss, Paul (Leon Rippy – The Alamo, The Patriot), that the team is a good idea and then convince a league to allow their team to join. They have 4 weeks to make these gangsters and criminals into a team that will play together. From the beginning there is tension amongst the players in that some are members of competing gangs. Kelvin (David V. Thomas – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) and Willie (Jade Yorker – Prime, Music of the Heart) are from warring gangs and mistrust each other from the start. Porter has to figure how to stop them from killing each other and then to play like teammates on the field
This is one of those movies that you will go into with doubts about its quality and come out of it glad you took the time to watch it. It is schmaltzy and overdone at times, but has a good message and decent story to it. Though The Rock is not exactly the greatest actor this role is within his capabilities and he does a good job. He was at one time a professional football player (played for the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL), so he is quite believable as an ex-football player. Another strong aspect is that director Phil Joanou (Heaven’s Prisoners, Final Analysis) did not make this a football movie rather a movie with football in it. The game is used as a way to get the message across with the message being the important thing. Some of the gang stuff in the film is pretty intense and gives a good idea what life is like for some kids. There is some gang violence and it is quite tense. Make sure you watch the closing credits as they use some footage of the actual Sean Porter and teenagers. The film is fairly predictable, but so what! Just enjoy it as is! It is a film aimed at teenage boys, but it knows its target audience and plays to them. This does not preclude other age groups from being entertained. Which, by the way, is the focus of this film…to entertain!
-Commentary with Director and Writer
-15 Deleted Scenes (with commentary)
-5 Featurettes INCLUDES the original 1992 Emmy®-winning documentary that inspired the film.