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Substitute, The C-, C+

US/1996/Color/Widescreen 1.85:1 or P&S/Dolby Digital 5:1/114 minutes/Directed by Robert Mandel/Starring Tom Berenger, Ernie Hudson/Live/46 Chaps/Theatrical Trailer/$24.95 

      Mercenaries, drug dealers, school teachers, student toughs, slimy lawyers, and corrupt officials are all thrown together in this totally unbelievable urban action movie. Attractive and dedicated school teacher Jane Hetzko is roughed up when she challenges disruptive students. Fortunately her boyfriend Shale is a mercenary who comes tot he rescue before the attacks results in worse than a broken leg. The injury forces Hetzko to call in a substitute teacher as her replacement, but Shale surreptitiously decides to take the role himself and give the students his own unique teaching outlook.  But this is no Blackboard Jungle or even Dangerous Minds. It takes ridiculous turns as Shale’s mercenaries must challenge the local drug cartel. Get out the guns guys. 
A number of solid actors are wasted in this out-of-control, predictable and unoriginal movie.      T om Berenger is convincing in the role of Shale. Berenger even sports a facial scar reminiscent of his best role in Platoon. Okay, he’s tough. Shale can beat the best of them. Berenger goes through the motions of trying to make Shale an interesting character, but he’s a slave to the silly screenplay. The always appealing Diane Venora is wasted in the role of Shale’s girl friend. She spends most of her time hobbling around in a cast with little support(sic). Ernie Hudson smiles through the heavy role as former cop Principal Rolle. 
      Warning: This not a DVD demo material. Many scenes are washed out with a poor contrast ratio. This is one DVD that could use some heavy handed use of the sharpness control, though the result would be  excessive grain along with acceptably sharp images. Color is inconsistent and muted.  The product is only as good as the overall production and if care isn’t taken in both the video transfer and the  MPEG encoding, the result can be a sub-par product. . DVD is not necessarily the next coming of home video.