11 July 2011 | lost-in-limbo
"We are here to help all of you."
Standard bubblegum high school thriller in the vein of "Massacre at Central High", "Wolfpack" and having a touch of "The Most Dangerous Game". This little, gritty b-grade outing from Cannon productions and low-budget filmmaker Albert Pyun is a true time capsule of the 80s period, where a whole bunch of films of a similar ilk flooded the screens. However these exploitative teen revenge films ("Savage Streets", "Class of 1984", "The New Kids", "3:15" and such) acted on its nastiness. However Pyun's film while it can be unpleasant, actually felt a little more thoughtful (despite formulaic and simple minded) in its narrative and struck up a mystery angle (even though predictably done) that added another element to it. This probably took away a bit of mindless fun, by upping the talkative nature; sticking with a grim air and deliberately letting the pace mellow out. As our protagonists (J. Eddie Peck and Carey Lowell) try to put the dots together, but we the audience are always ahead of them to the very final frame. There it pulls out a twist in an anticlimactic finale, only to top that one with another freeze frame closing. Foreseeable, but nonetheless bleak. The plot follows that of a group of students known as "The Sentinels", who combat the vandalism occurring in their school. However it's what they do outside of school, as this deputised group has turned into a violent neo-fascist army who pick out the kids that don't fit in. School newspaper editor Danny Lennox finds himself caught in the thick of it, as his best friend Krooger is a trouble-maker, but the "The Sentinels" leader Randy wants to get Danny of his side. It's a promising set-up, but not as exciting as it could have been. It feels all build-up and it takes a while to really get into it, so when it comes to it there's little in the way of a pay-off. Pyun presents some impulsively atmospheric scenes, especially when the "The Sentinels" are toying around with their victims. These guys really do love their school. But for most part it never gets out of first-gear. The performances are acceptably done (although there are some unconvincing looking high school students). John Stockwell (who also co-wrote the story) is fitting as Randy, who underneath that cool persona boils a menacing edge. J. Eddie Peck and Carey Lowell are agreeably likable in their parts. Bradford Bancroft (who was in "3:15") adds some defiant energy. Also for "Return of the Living Dead" fans; Thom Mathews (one of "The Sentinels" who begins to have second thoughts) and Miguel A Nuriez Jr. (one of their victims) add to the curiosity. A bubbly Dedee Pfeiffer also pops up. Then there's game support by Carmen Argenziano, Madison Mason, Anthony De Longis, Greg Finley and Karen Witter. Then we got this pumping rock / punk soundtrack, which have some notable tracks - namely Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love".
Nothing we haven't already seen before, but in its abuse of power it has its moments and a capable cast to boot.
"What an arsenal."