Gridiron Gang (PG-13)

Drama 120 September 15, 2006
By Bill Gallo
Former pro wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who always made a good show of selling fake violence, stars in Phil Joanou’s well-meant trifle as an idealistic corrections officer who starts up a football team at a juvenile detention center in L.A. Never mind the obvious parallels to The Longest Yard and Remember the Titans; what we get here is one huge, indigestible sports-movie platitude. The troubled, belligerent teenagers are variously appealing -- Jade Yorker as a gangbanger who shot his mother's abusive boyfriend, Paul Higa as the team's talented but insecure quarterback, Trever O'Brien as the token white boy, etc. -- but what we have here is another overdose of inspiration, pure and simple, about Winning and Losing. As The Rock himself would have to acknowledge, it means to be the Charging Double-Leg Spinebuster of football-coach hero stories.
Phil Joanou The Rock, Xzibit, Vanessa Ferlito, L. Scott Caldwell, Leon Rippy, Kevin Dunn, Michael J. Pagan, Jade Yorker, David Thomas, Setu Taase Jeff Maguire, Lee Stanley Neal H. Moritz, Lee Stanley Sony Pictures

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