The Substitute

( 1 )

Overview

An ex-mercenary Tom Berenger becomes a take-no-prisoners teacher in a drug-ridden, gang-infested Miami high school in this campy morality tale about restoring lost American virtues to the inner city. Berenger's character, Shale, has no first name, a shadowy past as a patriotic gun-for-hire, and is temporarily unemployed and living with an idealistic teacher, Jane Hetzko Diane Verona. Jane has angered a school gang leader, Juan Lucas Marc Anthony, by asking the principal to get him transferred after he has ...
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Overview

An ex-mercenary Tom Berenger becomes a take-no-prisoners teacher in a drug-ridden, gang-infested Miami high school in this campy morality tale about restoring lost American virtues to the inner city. Berenger's character, Shale, has no first name, a shadowy past as a patriotic gun-for-hire, and is temporarily unemployed and living with an idealistic teacher, Jane Hetzko Diane Verona. Jane has angered a school gang leader, Juan Lucas Marc Anthony, by asking the principal to get him transferred after he has threatened her in the schoolyard. After Jane is kneecapped by a gang member, Shale fakes a resume and becomes a substitute teacher, Mr. Smith. He lectures his class on the lessons of Vietnam "We were fighting Communism" while looking for a way to get revenge on Juan. When he challenges the school's tolerance for student misbehavior, Smith is fired by the slimy principal, Claude Rolle Ernie Hudson, an ex-cop who is running for City Council and doesn't want to rock the boat. Shale stays because he cites a union rule requiring two weeks' notice. During that period, tensions escalate and eventually Shale intervenes in a gang war that degenerates into a school-destroying inferno of violence. ~ Michael Betzold
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Robert Mandel's ludicrously over-the-top action film is an instant camp classic. Tom Berenger stars as a former mercenary who takes over his girlfriend's (Diane Venora) class after she's kneecapped by one of her more unruly students. He wins over his class through the movie-teacher ploy of throwing out the curriculum to talk about real life, and about his experience in Vietnam, which he helpfully likens to a gang war. Berenger quickly runs afoul of the student thugs who work for drug-dealing principal (Ernie Hudson). As hostilities escalate, and the teacher calls in his mercenary buddies to take on Hudson's private army, the film degenerates into a hilariously surreal third act of open combat in the school corridors. When the shooting stops, the students get back their drug-free school, which now looks like a hotel in downtown Beirut. Unfortunately the screen time of Venora, who is the best thing in the movie, is severely limited. Berenger uses two expressions in the film: a sheepish one for his scenes with Venora, and a surly mask for the rest of the film. Marc Anthony is effectively nasty as Hudson's right arm, and the talented Cliff de Young scores as a noxious drug kingpin.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/20/1999
  • UPC: 012236019633
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: Live / Artisan
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Berenger Shale
Ernie Hudson Claude Rolle
Diane Venora Jane Hetzko
Marc Anthony Juan Lacas
Glenn Plummer Darryl Sherman
Cliff De Young Wolfson
William Forsythe Hollan
Nidia Alvarez Student
Ana Azcuy TV Announcer
Noelle Beck Deidre
Mike Benitez Chemistry Teacher
Richard Brooks Wellman
Juan Cejas Thug
Maria Celedonio Lisa Rodriguez
Maurice Compte Tay
Sharron Corley Jerome
Raymond Cruz Joey Six
Enrique Cruz Student
David Diaz Student
Steve DuMouchel Buyer
Mercedes Enriquez High School Nurse
Lazaro Gomez Student
Rodney A. Grant Johnny Glades
Luis Guzman Rem
David Hayes Frank
Gustavo Laborde Drug Carrier
Vincent Laresca Rodriguez
Dwight Lauderdale Himself
Artie Malesci Marvin
Ian Marioles Kod Punk
Melissa Martinez Student
Wilmer Padilla Burgler
Travis Patterson Student
Margo Peace Mrs. Rollé
Peggy Pope Anna Dillon
Simon Ricky Student
Claudia Silva Student
Ricky Simon Student
Willis Sparks John Janus
David Spates Michael
Marta Velasco Rollé's Secretary
Jim Warne Bull
Beau Weaver Janus Showreel Narrator
Jodie Wilson Mrs. Andrewson
Technical Credits
Robert Mandel Director
Steven Bakalar Executive Producer
Jay Cannistraci Makeup
Gary Chang Score Composer, Songwriter
Mary Colquhoun Casting
Devorah Cutler Executive Producer
Morrie Eisenman Producer
Patricia Field Costumes/Costume Designer
Joe Foglia Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Fojo Art Director
Ron Foreman Production Designer
Roy Frumkes Screenwriter
Tom Irvine Asst. Director
Carol Lewis Casting
Alex Mackie Editor
Alan Ormsby Screenwriter
Barbara Peterson Set Decoration/Design
Rocco Simonelli Screenwriter
Jim Steele Producer
Bruce Surtees Cinematographer
Cheryl Voss Makeup
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2001

    A MARC ANTHONY LOVER!

    I love this movie because Marc Anthony is playing in the movie ( as Juan Lacas ) and he is so very cute. MARC ANTHONY: I LOVE YOU FOREVER AN ALWAYS AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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