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"GRIDIRON GANG"
(2006) (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jade Yorker) (PG-13)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A determined and caring probation officer tries to build self-confidence and teamwork in a bunch of criminal teens by turning them into a football team at their detention camp.
PLOT:
At L.A.'s Camp Kilpatrick -- a detention facility for criminally minded teens -- probation officer Sean Porter (DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON) is tired of seeing the same kids returning after being let free or, worse yet, ending up dead on the streets of their tough neighborhoods.

Accordingly, he and fellow probation officer Malcolm Moore (XZIBIT) approach the camp's administrators -- Dexter (KEVIN DUNN) and Paul (LEON RIPPY) -- with a radical idea. Instead of doing the usual, they propose that they create an organized football team made up of their inmates that could play the local high schools and thus teach the troubled kids about discipline, teamwork, and putting their differences behind them.

While Bug (BRANDON MYCHAL SMITH) is too young and small and thus becomes the witty water boy, and Evans (JAMAL MIXON) is too out of shape to keep up and thus serves as the equipment manager, others show promise. Among them is former drug dealer Leon Hayes (MAURICE McRAE) who plays quarterback, although wide receiver Kenny Bates (TREVER O'BRIEN) has a hard time holding on to any passes sent his way.

Junior Palaita (SETU TAASE) and Donald Matlock (JAMES EARL III) are big enough to play on the line, while Calvin Owens (DAVID THOMAS) seems to have it out for Willie Weathers (JADE YORKER), who's in for killing his mother's physically abusive boyfriend. He and Calvin are from rival inner-city gangs and there's no love lost between them, but like the rest, they must learn to work as a team.

As Sean also deals with caring for his terminally ill mother, he strives to make a difference in these kids' lives, hoping to transform them into winners, both on and off the field.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into sports films or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON plays a detention camp probation officer who wants to try something different in terms of preventing so many of their troubled teens from returning or ending up dead, so he proposes they form and then coaches their football team. While pushing them to succeed, believe in themselves and act as a team, he worries about his terminally ill mother. He uses profanity.
  • XZIBIT plays another officer there who also helps with the inmates and their team.
  • JADE YORKER plays a gang member who uses profanity, shoots and kills his mother's abusive boyfriend, and thinks he has no future until he eventually accepts his role as part of the football team.
  • DAVID THOMAS plays a rival gang member in the camp who uses profanity and has several confrontations with Willie.
  • TREVER O'BRIEN plays a kid incarcerated for stealing a car, doesn't get along with his mother, and has low self-esteem.
  • BRANDON MYCHAL SMITH plays a young kid incarcerated for knifing a woman for her purse. He becomes the team's enthusiastic water boy, and uses some profanity.
  • MAURICE McRAE plays the former coke dealer who becomes the team's initially unsure quarterback.
  • SETU TAASE plays a troublemaker in the detention camp who's always picking fights with others until he joins the team and has a change of heart (we also learn he's the father of a 2-year-old). He uses some profanity.
  • JAMES EARL III plays another inmate who doesn't want to leave the facility when his time is up (due to it being hot on the summer streets).
  • JAMAL MIXON plays an overweight inmate who can't pass the physical requirements of the team, and thus becomes the equipment manager.
  • KEVIN DUNN and LEON RIPPY plays two detention camp administrators who are hesitant to approve Sean's plan, but eventually get behind it.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered, and some crude, sexually related dialogue is present.

    Violence consists of several shootings (resulting in deaths or injuries - some with slightly bloody results), a gang member using a car as a deadly weapon, other fighting, and some rather hard physical contact between players in practice and during games. Some of that material may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Tense family material includes a parental and other family death, as well as a strained mother-son relationship. One character is noted as being a former drug dealer, and there's some related talk about that and drinking.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy camerawork (sometimes a lot) in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sean comments on some kids who get drunk and make the wrong choices.
  • We hear that Leon was a drug dealer who sold crack on the outside.
  • We see two empty beers in front of Sean.
  • Leon comments in a letter about football being better than "selling rocks" (drugs).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • There's some blood on a person's clothing after they've been shot.
  • We see blood on a man's shirt after he's just been shot and killed.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The thugs and gang members in the film have bad attitudes (particularly those who commit murder).
  • Junior pushes another guy over a cot, followed by some punching and struggling. He's noted as being a troublemaker, and Sean initially won't let him join the team for that reason.
  • Willie finds his mom with a black eye and gets after her for letting the man in her life do that. Just then, that man enters, he and Willie get into an argument and the man pushes Willie down before shoving Willie's mom. Willie then pulls his gun, the man says, "You ain't got the balls" and Willie shoots him several times, killing him.
  • We hear that Bates stole an inexpensive car (his reason for being incarcerated), and that Bug stabbed a woman for her purse (his reason).
  • Willie and Calvin (rival gang members) have bad attitudes toward each other.
  • Some viewers might not like the humorous comment made about the teens -- that there'd be more killers among them if their aim had been better.
  • Another inmate (not on the team), spots Danielle (a visiting friend of Willy's) and callously asks her, "You wanna suck on this?"
  • Blake's mom is upset with him and he later tells Sean that he sometimes hates her.
  • Seeing an attractive, cleavage-revealing woman drive by in a convertible, Leon loudly asks, "How about a little quarterback sneak into your end-zone?"
  • An opposing white player calls Willie (who's black), "Boy."
  • Willie throws a football at another player and later storms off the field saying, "I don't need this sh*t."
  • We learn (as does she) that Danielle's father kept Willie's letters from her (he says he didn't want his daughter's path derailed by a criminal).
  • The earlier racist white player has the same attitude toward Willie when they meet again in a later game, calling him "nigger" and trying to intimidate him (psychologically and physically). When Willie bests him on the field, he throws back the insult, "You alright, nigger?"
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Willie and his cousin are reunited on the streets after the latter is released from incarceration (and a gang member gives the cousin a handgun to take care of some gang-related matters). A drive-by shooting then occurs (one person is hit), with the car returning and chasing Willie and his cousin, with the car smashing into the cousin as he tries to scale a chain link fence.
  • Willy goes to get revenge on a rival gang member's relative in a store, aims a handgun at him, and then turns and fires, shattering some glass before fleeing.
  • Willie finds his mom with a black eye and gets after her for letting the man in her life do that. Just then, that man enters, he and Willie get into an argument and the man pushes Willie down before shoving Willie's mom. Willie then pulls his gun, the man says, "You ain't got the balls" and Willie shoots him several times, killing him.
  • One of Willie's gang members walks onto the field and shoots Calvin, wounding him (in the arm, no blood is seen). As he's about to make the kill shot, Willie knocks him aside, causing that thug to run and then shoot at some police who shoot back (the thug is hit and goes down, but we don't know if he's dead or not).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Carried (including by cops) and/or used to threaten, wound, or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "You got to be sh*tting me," "I had enough of this sh*t," "No sh*t," "I don't need this sh*t," "Everybody will think you're a chickensh*t," "That's bullsh*t," "I thought he was full of sh*t," "That's for p*ssies," "Cups are for p*ssies," what sounded like "You're t*tty dancing with them" (nonsexual), "Screw up," "Dawg," "Damn girl," "Nigger(s)" (said by black people toward black people, and by a white and black player back at each other), "Chill," "This ain't no damn quiz," "Shut up," "You ain't got the balls," "Catch you on the fly," "Losers," "This is gonna be a long ass day," "My ass," "Working our asses off," "A hell of a deal," "Shut your ass up," "Quit bitching, quit moaning," "We gonna suck," "Kick ass," "Ass kicking," "Hell yeah," "What the hell /is wrong with you/ya'll doing?" "I suck," "Grow some balls," "You know you're an idiot" (followed by "Then I'm making progress, cuz I used to be an asshole"), "Bitch" (guy), "Homey," "She's so hot," "You're screwed either way," "Pissed off," "Hand out 38 ass-whoopings" and "Let's get out there and kick some ass."
  • Junior, Willy, Sean, and others have tattoos.
  • Some cheerleaders wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • A player does a back flip on the field.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A car slams into a person scaling a fence.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and some dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 25 "s" words, 5 slang terms using female genitals ("p*ssy"), 1 for male ones ("d*ck"), 1 for breasts ("t*tty"), 29 asses (2 used with "hole"), 12 damns, 12 hells, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "God," "Jesus Christ," "Oh God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Danielle, a friend of Willy's, shows some cleavage.
  • We see some shirtless male players from time to time in the film.
  • After a player won't wear an athletic cup, he's hit in the crotch (by accident) during practice, doubling him over in pain (and he says what sounded like "I broke my d*ck").
  • About wearing athletic cups, Leon boasts that there isn't one big enough for him.
  • Another inmate (not on the team), spots Danielle (a visiting friend of Willy's) and callously asks her, "You wanna suck on this?"
  • Seeing an attractive, cleavage-revealing woman drive by in a convertible, Leon loudly asks, "How about a little quarterback sneak into your end-zone?"
  • Danielle shows a little cleavage.
  • About a girl, one of the guys says, "She's so hot."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see Willie's aunt grieving over her son being killed in gang action (she arrives on the scene).
  • We see that Sean's mother is sick and then learn that she's terminally ill (various scenes feature this, with her getting sicker as the story progresses).
  • Blake's mom is upset with him and he later tells Sean that he sometimes hates her.
  • From his voice-over narration, we hear that Sean's mom has died, and he then comments that he doesn't talk about his dad.
  • Willie says that his dad told him he was a waste of time and money, with Sean saying he pretty much heard the same thing from his father in the past. Sean then says they need to forgive them in order to move on, and when Willie asks when he did so, Sean (choked up) says he just did right now.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Teamwork and overcoming personal differences to work as a team.
  • Dealing with losing.
  • How sports and other such activities can be a turnaround for troubled kids.
  • The comment that of the young men incarcerated, seventy-five percent will die or go back to prison.
  • Sean comments on some kids who get drunk and make the wrong choices.
  • We see that Sean's mother is sick and then learn that she's terminally ill (various scenes feature this, with her getting sicker as the story progresses).
  • The comment that it's a whole new world when you learn things.
  • We hear that Junior (who's 17) has a two-year-old back home.
  • The comment about sports and other such activities breaking the hold that gangs have over kids.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Weathers' cousin, Roger, wraps a pillowcase around his fist and then repeatedly punches another inmate at night. Later, Sean repeatedly hits Roger (who's in solitary confinement) with some rolled up paper (to get a point across to him).
  • Willie and his cousin are reunited on the streets after the latter is released from incarceration (and a gang member gives the cousin a handgun to take care of some gang-related matters). A drive-by shooting then occurs (one person is hit), with the car returning and chasing Willie and his cousin, with the car smashing into the cousin as he tries to scale a chain link fence, killing him.
  • Junior pushes another guy over a cot, followed by some punching and struggling.
  • Willy goes to get revenge on a rival gang member's relative in a store, aims a handgun at him, and then turns and fires, shattering some glass before fleeing.
  • Willie finds his mom with a black eye and gets after her for letting the man in her life do that. Just then, that man enters, he and Willie get into an argument and the man pushes Willie down before shoving Willie's mom. Willie then pulls his gun, the man says, "You ain't got the balls" and Willie shoots him several times, killing him.
  • Willy hits Calvin, knocking him to the ground and the two then struggle.
  • After a player won't wear an athletic cup, he's hit in the crotch (by accident) during practice, doubling him over in pain (and he says what sounded like "I broke my d*ck").
  • There's some hard contact between players during practice.
  • Junior is tackled hard in practice, resulting in him being injured (a concussion and slipped disc) and must be transported away in an ambulance.
  • There's some miscellaneous fighting on the basketball court (brief punching and kicking).
  • There's hard contact between players during a game.
  • Willie throws a football at another player.
  • Trying to teach Willie how to run over defenders, Sean has him try to do the same to him during practice, with the much larger coach repeatedly knocking him back and/or to the ground. Willie finally gets the motivation and knocks Sean to the ground.
  • Two female teen inmates briefly fight.
  • One of Willie's gang members walks onto the field and shoots Calvin, wounding him (in the arm, no blood is seen). As he's about to make the kill shot, Willie knocks him aside, causing that thug to run and then shoot at some police who shoot back (the thug is hit and goes down, but we don't know if he's dead or not).
  • Willie pushes and head-butts a guy for making a wisecrack.
  • Willie tries to attack Sean while in solitary, but the coach grabs and throws him back to his cot.
  • There's hard contact between players during a game.



  • Reviewed August 29, 2006 / Posted September 15, 2006

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