18 September 2002 | Wizard-8
Mostly - though not totally - familiar
While there is nothing really bad about how anything in the movie is executed, just about any viewer will repeatedly think "I've seen this before" several times before the end credits. Still, you do get to see a young Bridges and Reiner, and there are some good moments, like the interesting way the chief character gets his students interested in reading. The ending is also more realistic for a refreshing change.
More interesting is the movie makes the gutsy non-P.C. decision to show many of these urban black students in a negative light, from their almost constant abuse of the white students to showing how many of them are poor at reading and studying. In fact, even though the white students are shown to have their own negative characteristics, they overall come across better than their black classmates.