Robot Without A Cause: Class of 1999 II: The Substitute (1994, directed by Spiro Razatos)

There’s a new substitute teacher at a local high school in Oregon and he’s not going to put up with any disrespectful punks.  John Bolen (Sasha Mitchell) can educate minds and change lives but only when he’s not busy killing any student with a bad attitude and trying to protect his fellow teacher, Jenna McKenzie (Caitlin Dulany).  Jenna is scheduled to testify against the local gang leader so every punk at school is trying to intimidate her and her boyfriend, Emmett (Nick Cassavetes!).  It takes Jenna and Emmett a while to realize that John is killing all of their students but soon, a mysterious man named G.D. Ash (Rick Hill) shows up and insinuates that John might be connected to the robot teachers that, two years earlier, terrorized a high school in Seattle.

This sequel to The Class of 1999 is mostly more of the same, with the main difference being that the focus is not on the students being hunted but instead on the teachers being “protected.”  If the first Class of 1999 was about the dangers of a no tolerance discipline policy, the sequel is all for it and suggests that maybe the world really would be better off if teachers could just kill some of their more disruptive students.  The first film’s director, Mark L. Lester, did not return for the sequel and directing duties were given to stunt coordinator to Spiro Razatos who, not surprisingly, emphasized action and stunts over characterization.  Fortunately, Sasha Mitchell was a champion kickboxer so he’s believable in the action scenes and he’s such a stiff actor that you could believe that he might be an android.  There’s a good and unexpected twist towards the end of the movie but, ultimately, the victims are too interchangeable and the direction is too flat for this sequel to duplicate the demented pleasures of either Class of 1999 or Class of 1984.

Trailer: Oldboy (Red Band)


Today saw the release of the red band trailer for the remake of Park Chan-wook’s classic neo-noir Oldboy. This remake by Spike Lee already looks to pay homage (or imitate) the look and feel of Park’s adaptation of the Japanese manga of the same name by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Mineshigi. We see quick glimpses of the hallway fight scene and a montage of the main character’s 20 years spent locked up in an unknown hotel room.

There’s a great chance for Spike Lee to make this remake his very own by using the Park film as a template but not as gospel. The Park adaptation itself took some liberties with the story told in the manga. Lee and the screenplay by Protosevich could do same to allow this Oldboy a chance to stand on its own instead of becoming another Gus Van Sant Psycho.

Though I wouldn’t mind to see what Lee has in mind as Josh Brolin’s character’s first choice of a meal once getting out.