The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

DETENTION (2004) ***

It’s somewhat comforting to know that even in the 21st century; people can make a good Die Hard rip-off.  It should come as no surprise since the film was co-written by Paul Lynch, the man who directed No Contest, the best Die Hard rip-off ever made.  This one also adds in elements of The Substitute, as the hero (Dolph Lundgren) is a teacher with former military training (yes, there is a flashback) who is trapped in school after hours who must fend off an onslaught of machine gun toting bad guys.

 

The high school setting is put to good use as Dolph makes explosives in chemistry class, builds a makeshift iron chariot of death in metal shop, and when a helpful student steals a car from the auto body class.  Director Sidney J. (Iron Eagle) Furie (who re-teamed with Dolph the next year for Direct Action) really knows how to film the action and gives the flick a pretty big scale, even on an obviously low budget.  I particularly liked the scene where the paraplegic kid in a motorized wheelchair was chased in the hallways by a bad guy on a motorcycle.  Dolph really comes off well here and gives another great performance, although the claustrophobic setting doesn’t give him much of an opportunity to use his trademark Kung Fu skills.

 

What really knocks the flick down a notch is the thoroughly annoying villains.  The main bad guy shamelessly overacts and his henchmen look like they came out of a Troma movie.  They also have an extremely idiotic work method as they usually enter rooms guns-a-blazing, wasting hundreds of bullets.  When they reload, it gives Dolph plenty of time to disarm them and kill them.

 

These shortcomings are easy to forgive because the dialogue is borderline brilliant.  There’s a great scene early on in the film when a drug dealer tries to step up to Dolph.  The cool-as-a-cucumber Dolph says, “I teach Physical Education and History.  This is Physical Education [Punches the dude in the face] and you’re History!”  But it’s the annoying villain who gets the best line of the flick when he tells his underling:  “I’m going to fuck you up the ass with this gun and from the look of things; you’re going to like it!”

Tags: action, d, dolph lundgren
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