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"MASTERMINDS"
(1997) (Patrick Stewart, Vincent Kartheiser) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Moderate Mild Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Moderate None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor Mild Minor Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A rebellious student matches wits with the head of security of a private school who's taken the students there hostage.
PLOT:
Ozzie Paxton (VINCENT KARTHEISER) is a 14-year-old rebel and computer hacker who steals new computer games and sells them before they hit the street. Getting to be a bit too much for his dad Jake (MATT CRAVEN) and stepmom Helen (ANNABELLE GURWITCH) to handle, they order Ozzie to escort his younger stepsister, Melissa (KATIE STUART) to school after yelling at her. When he arrives at Shady Glen private school, everyone's surprised since the principal, Claire Maloney (BRENDA FRICKER), earlier expelled and forbid him from ever returning. He's set to leave when he discovers that the school's security consultant, Raif Bentley (PATRICK STEWART), is planning to take the rich students hostage. As Bentley's men seal the compound, Ozzie finds himself in a "Die Hard" situation where he must use his knowledge of the school's labyrnith like basement, attic and duct work to stop Bentley and his men.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Stewart ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"), Kartheiser ("Alaska") or of "Die Hard" type movies, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence included in a children hostage situation, and for language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • VINCENT KARTHEISER plays a rebellious student who hacks into computer systems and is basically a smart aleck with a slacker attitude who isn't respectful to his parents. The fact that he saves the day will only make him that much more appealing to younger kids.
  • PATRICK STEWART plays a man entrusted to protect the students who then turns around and puts them in harm's way.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    First there was a takeover of an office building, followed by an airport, a bus, a battleship, a cruise ship, and of course many airplanes. What was left for terrorists to seize in movies? The supermarket? Nah, just straight aisles with few places to hide. How about a bowling alley? Oops, same problem. I've got it! How about a private school? And instead of having Bruce Willis or Steven Seagal or Keanu Reeves, etc... save the students, we'll have another student be the hero. Best of all, he'll be a computer hacking, bad attitude kid who just happens across the big terrorist take over. High concept? You bet? A good movie? Not a chance. This straight to video wannabe isn't a horrendously terrible film but it certainly qualifies as a bad one. Aimed at teenage males, the film pales in comparison to other similarly targeted releases, it won't find its intended audience, and thus it will quickly be packing its theatrical bags for the trip to home video. Featuring some of the worst acting to come down the pike in some time, the film can also be noted for its bad casting. Stewart, who most viewers are accustomed to seeing as the stoic Captain Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," gets to loosen up here and play a ham who gets to chew on the scenery now and then. That isn't necessarily always bad, but here he doesn't play a very menacing bad guy. Worse yet is Kartheiser who plays a non-charismatic "hero" who the audience doesn't like and thus doesn't really care about. Of course some will argue that the film's meant to be something of a goofy spoof on the "Die Hard" movies, but this film can never decide what it really wants to be. "Goofy" certainly applies to many of the plot elements, however, that are scattered throughout the feature. In one scene Ozzie falls into a long forgotten school room complete with haunted house type cobwebs and a large candelabra. The room appears only accessible through the chimney or a hidden passageway, but at the end of the movie one of its doors opens right into the main hallway. (Didn't anyone ever wonder where the door went?) In another scene Ozzie's father hacks his way into Bentley's high security computer system in just one try and in another Ozzie manages to cross some wires to substitute a soft core porn commercial from the cable system onto Bentley's computer screen. (Is that why private schools are so expensive all of those cable channels?) The film also contains one of the most drawn out, non-eventful "car" chase scenes ever filmed. The only good thing about it is that it closes out the movie and everyone can go home. Why this film ever received a theatrical release is beyond us, but Sony Pictures will wish they had sent it straight to video instead. We give "Masterminds" just a 2 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Violent, but non-fatal mayhem is the order of this movie along with a dose of mildly suspenseful scenes. The main character of the story, Ozzie, isn't exactly a good role model for kids although the film turns him into a hero and uses his faults/problems (computer hacking, loner characteristics, knowledge of the school's nooks and crannies due to his skipping classes, etc...) as positive assets for defeating the bad guys. There's some behavior that kids may try to imitate and a moderate amount of profanity including 10 "s" words. The bad guys try to inflict harm on Ozzie, but are never successful, although they do shoot and blow up several police vehicles. While it's questionable how many kids will want to see this film, you should still check out the content before allowing them to do so.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some people celebrate with champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Ozzie has a bloody scrape on his face by the end of the movie as do a few other people.
  • A terrorist has a bloody burn on his hand.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Ozzie hacks into computer systems and steals computer games to sell to other students.
  • Ozzie has the typical teenage "slacker" attitude toward his dad and stepmother.
  • Obviously Bentley and his men have both as they take children hostage for money.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some scenes listed under "Violence" may also be tense to some viewers.
  • The takeover of the school may be tense to some viewers.
  • Ozzie slides down a roof and hangs onto the gutter many stories above the ground. Part of it breaks away and he scrambles for safety as a bad guy approaches.
  • There are many scenes where Ozzie sneaks through the school and the bad guys may be around the next corner.
  • A man chases Ozzie through the school's elaborate duct work system while a man below jabs a spear up into it, trying to impale Ozzie.
  • Ozzie and Richard chase after Bentley on all terrain vehicles while driving through sewer tunnels and try to rescue Melissa from Bentley's vehicle.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine Guns: Used to threaten people and to shoot police cars.
  • Missiles: Used to blow up a police van and fired by Bentley at Ozzie and Richard as they chase him through sewer tunnels.
  • Land Mines: Planted in the school grounds, some of which explode when the police try to storm the area.
  • Dynamite: Used to blow up part of the school.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Moron," "Suck ups," "Kissing ass," "Jerk," "Wienerhead," "Bastard," "Idiot," "Imbecile," "Screwed it up," "Screwed" (non sexual), "Sucks," "Piss," "Screw you," and "Shove it."
  • Ozzie hacks into computer systems and steals computer games to sell to other students.
  • Ozzie, who's on a skateboard, pulls Melissa (also on a skateboard) behind him at high speeds. He then skateboards down the school's outdoor steps (and Melissa imitates him) and then down the interior school hallway.
  • Ozzie's friend Richard, who's on a skateboard, catches a ride on a garbage truck that pulls him along.
  • Ozzie puts an open flame to a door handle so that when a bad guy tries to come in, he burns his hand.
  • Ozzie sabotages the school's boiler system to heat the place up, and then sets off the sprinkler system throughout the school.
  • Ozzie gives "the finger" to Bentley via a surveillance camera.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a moderate amount of suspenseful music throughout the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 10 "s" words, 8 hells, 4 damns, 3 S.O.B.'s, 2 asses, 1 crap, and 4 uses of "Oh God," "3 uses of "Jesus Christ," and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Jesus," and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Ozzie rewires the school's security system so that as Bentley tries to show Maloney the new security system, they briefly see a TV channel showing a provocatively dressed woman making sexual come-on's such as, "Oh give it to me, big boy" along with some faked moaning sounds.
  • SMOKING
  • One of Bentley's men smokes in a few scenes.
  • A man in a meeting smokes a cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Ozzie and his parents don't get along very well and his dad threatens to send him to military school if he doesn't shape up.
  • Ozzie's mom and dad and other parents worry about their kids inside the school.
  • Ozzie's stepmom apologizes to him for not being his real mother and tells him that she knows how hard it must have been when his real mother walked out on him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The odds of having this happen at your child's school.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Several men are shot with tranquilizer guns.
  • Bentley holds a handgun on Claire.
  • The terrorists shoot Helen's truck full of holes with their machine guns (she's not in it) and then fire at police cars (with the police in them), but no one's hurt. They then riddle the police cars with more shots, causing some of them to blow up.
  • The police, spotting Ozzie on the roof and thinking he's a terrorist, open fire on him.
  • A terrorist shoots through a door with a machine gun to get inside.
  • A terrorist burns his hand on an open-flame heated door handle and then steps in acid that Ozzie has poured on the floor.
  • Ozzie pulls a handle that dumps coal onto a terrorist.
  • As the police try to storm the school, land mines are activated that then blow up and injure some of the police.
  • They fire a missile into a police van, blowing it up.
  • A man chases Ozzie through the school's elaborate duct work system while a man below jabs a spear up into it, trying to impale Ozzie. Later one of his jabs hits an electrical wire and the man's shocked but not killed.
  • Pushed to his limit, Bentley says, "I'm not a violent man, but I think I'll have to kill someone here."
  • Ozzie shoots a man with a tranquilizer dart causing him to fall down through the duct work.
  • Ozzie hits one terrorist twice with a baseball bat and Maloney punches and knocks out another.
  • Ozzie falls through a skylight and is captured by the terrorists, one of which grabs him his ear.
  • An explosion rips through the school, and the hole it creates drains the swimming pool's water that then washes away most of the bad guys.
  • Maloney knocks out a terrorist with a large wrench, but is then chased by Bentley who hits her with an all terrain vehicle, injuring her.
  • Bentley fires several heat-seeking missiles at Ozzie and Richard that miss the boys but do blow up parts of the tunnel through which they're driving.



  • Reviewed August 18, 1997

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