Bullet Points: Detention (2003)
Today on Bullet Points… a movie starring Dolph Lundgren, directed by Sidney J. Furie, set in the United States but actually filmed in Canada. Is this Direct Action all over again?
No, this time around it is the 2003 movie Detention. A movie that actually preceded Direct Action in Dolph’s extensive filmography.
- The Premise: Dolph Lundgren plays Sam Decker, a soldier turned teacher at a public high school who is sick and tired of being sick and tired. He’s burned out and feels like the work he is doing is doing no good. So Decker goes to his boss, the principal, and tells him that he is quitting. The principal accepts Decker’s resignation, but asks if he could stay late and serve as the detention monitor. This wasn’t exactly what Decker had in mind, but perhaps feeling guilty that he did not give the customary two weeks notice, he agrees. Decker would end up getting more than he bargained for, and I’m not just talking about the delinquents he had to babysit. A couple of criminals, Chester Lamb and Kata Dobo, had planned on using what they believed would be an empty school to do a little dirty drug business, because who would suspect that there was dirty drug business going on at a high school after hours?. This sets up the teacher and the troublemakers vs. the drug dealers and Hamilton High becomes their battleground!
- The Cast: Dolph pretty much carries this entire film. Don’t get me wrong the actors portraying the high school students do their part. But where I felt the cast was really lacking was our main villain Chester Lamb (played by Alex Karzis). I was not feeling his performance at all and it appeared he was trying too hard. Gloria Waylon, who played Lamb’s fellow crook Kata, was not exactly setting the world on fire with her performance either. Maybe that’s why they slapped a pink wig on her, to serve as a distraction, hoping we wouldn’t notice that she brought so little to the table. Sorry to say Gloria, but I noticed. Quality villains can really enhance an action flick, sub-par villains can really drag it down.
- The Action: Detention overcomes its villainous deficiencies the best way an action movie can… with ACTION! A few memorable scenes come to mind, one was when Decker and Mick (one of the students, played by Corey Sevier) go all A-Team and create an armored push cart of sorts with impalers on the end of it. Then there’s the scene where a car is being driven through the hallway of the school. Sadly it is not driven up the stairs Action Jackson style, but it does totally destroy the security shack. We also get some more vehicular hallway action with Decker on his motorcycle. And last but certainly not least is the exploding helicopter! I’m sure our fellow movie reviewers across the pond at Exploding Helicopter will love that moment.
And make no mistake about it, Detention does have its moments, they may be few and at times far between, but the movie is far from unwatchable. This would be a solid C if I were grading it teacher style.
Detention falls in my “one and done” category, it is not a movie you will want to watch dozens of times in your lifetime, but if you watch it once you won’t hate yourself.
This review is officially done, but I am going to have to ask all of you to stay after and check out these bonus Detention Bullet Points…
- If You Ever: …wanted to see a guy on a motorized wheel chair out run a motorcycle, then Detention is the movie for you. And if Willy Lopez, the guy in said wheelchair, looks vaguely familiar to you, then you must be as big of a horror movie fan as you are an action movie fan. Lopez is played by Dov Tiefenbach of Jason X fame.
- Teen Mom: Having one of the students be a “teen mom to be” was a nice touch. It added another level of dastardliness to some villains who needed all the help they could get.
- Caffeine: Remember that summer in Canada when all the cool kids were wearing Caffeine branded clothing?
- Hot for Teacher: While Sam Decker is not happy at his job as a teacher, I’m sure the school board would not be too happy to learn that Decker and a fellow teacher, Ms. Conroy, were getting it on at the school on the regular. I wonder what Principal Joe Clark would do and say if he caught two of his teachers carrying on like Decker and Conroy.