A Conversation on The Substitute Series (with The Cinema Drunkie)
A series of cult films immortalized by being produced by Live Ent. (now Lionsgate) and gaining a fun B-action reputation based on their airings on HBO/USA cable TV while also incorporating the talents of Tom Berenger and director Robert Radler, who each worked on the similar Sniper and Best of the Best series respectively. Often combining the over-the-top nature of Commando and the Death Wish series while also having some Die Hard type mastermind villains and Toy Soldier type thrills, it was bound to be loved by undemanding action fans.
Today, I decided to team-up with The Cinema Drunkie blogger and Action movie expert himself, Robb Antequera, to tackle all the awesome mayhem of this series.
Part 1 (1996):
Cam Sully: I finally saw this during college after hearing about it for years and had virtually no issue with it. It got straight to the fun, was pretty low-budget yet didn’t look it, had an excellent all-star cast, put some thought into its outrageousness yet unlike some I could actually take it serious because it wasn’t so overblown in its execution (no pun) yet embraced its fun all the same. I never found it trashy (although I’m sure some critics do and it could’ve easily done just that), lacking in imagination or too much for its own good. Just the right type of rare organized fun premise.
Robb Antequera: I remember seeing the TV spots for it when it was nearing release (I was 12 at the time), and initially thinking Berenger was the villain and Ernie Hudson was the hero. Silly kid I was. I finally caught it when it came on PPV and it easily became a favorite of mine. It felt like the kind of movie Steven Seagal would make, but given a little more class thanks to a terrific lead, taut direction, and an absolutely amazing cast, with William Forsythe being the standout. I’m also very fond of the library fight scene, which is in my opinion the best action sequence in the movie, as well as the funniest.
CS: Good gawd, that’s a hysterical mix-up; I guess I could see the trailers making it look like more of a Falling Down film where Hudson is the authority figure and Berenger is the guy goin’ postal. Yes, it could’ve easily been a Seagal film and it was cool seeing Forsythe (Ritchie from Out for Justice) as a loose canon anti-hero. Yes! Hell yes, the library scene sets up the perfectly violent yet welcome dark-humored tone that is to come. It’s also cool seeing Marc Anthony be a real cholo.
RA: That’s exactly what I thought! I was the kind of kid who would see trailers without paying attention to the plot and just make up the movie in my head. And you know you’re getting something special when you see Forsythe in the cast of an action movie. Out for Justice, Stone Cold, Firestorm, and this. Forsythe is always the standout. Yeah, Anthony did play a very effective prick in here. It was also cool getting to see Luis Guzman play a badass mercenary for once. That’s the last type of role you expect to see him in, and he portrayed it quite convincingly, in my opinion.
CS: I keep forgetting he’s in this- prob because there’s also Raymond Cruz, Diane Venora, Glenn Plummer and Richard Brooks chewing the scenery. Yes, sometimes making up a plot can be a great way to trick others to see a film- much like every movie trailer these days…
This film also puts thought into the numerous hijinks. The villain is a corrupt figure with an ingenious plan, everyone has some groovy one-liners (and not the cringeworthy kind either) and how often do you see mercs fighting other mercs all with silenced machineguns?
I’ve also listened to the rap soundtrack and while most of it isn’t in the film but it’s hardly a cheap cash-in as it makes for energetic wake-up/work-out type music.
RA: Thank you! That is something I always liked about the film. Usually in movies like these, the good guys have these big, loud machine guns that they kill all the bad guys with. But seeing the substitute squad battling it out against fellow mercs in a high school with silenced machine guns gave it a very interesting visual quality that stuck with me to this day.
Funny thing you mention Raymond Cruz, because he was another one that you never really saw in roles like this. I mean he was in Clear & Present Danger previous to this, but he was mostly known for playing Chuey in Blood in, Blood Out. Then boom, he’s playing a merc twice in one year (This and The Rock). And both roles he had that man-bun/fade hairdo going on, so there’s that. But he really did make a badass impression with me in this. Kudos to him.
CS: Indeed, years before being in The Closer/Major Crimes shows, I remembered Cruz from Training Day, From Dusk Till Dawn 2 and for playing soldier roles in those films as well as Under Siege and Broken Arrow. He def shines here because much like Forsythe, he’s dialed into giving the unstable mood that will surprising work in the hero’s favor later on.
This film series could easily be labeled as tasteless or mindless but I’d say much like a better Paul Verhoeven film that that’s missing the point altogether. It’s a stylish film but it’s not to mask that there’s virtually nothing happening; it’s serious but it’s not the deep kind; it’s funny but I see nothing of the unintentional kind in any way. The ‘80s action classic Commando is a party movie for instance and while it’s deliberately OTT, it could easily be marked as imperfect in some areas but this is like a more perfect Commando, and party movie 2.0.
The closest I’ve seen to this kind of film series have been either the various low-brow military DTV series (Sniper/Behind Enemy Lines/Jarhead) or assassin franchises like The Equalizer, John Wick and RED. In fact, hired gun films are basically what mind of films get made theatrically or for VOD these days when they’re not doing a knock-off of Avengers or The Expendables. And if your star isn’t someone aging Planet Hollywood dude, then they’re going to get someone like Luke Goss or Dolph Lindgren.
RA: You should be given an award for how spot on you are. This movie, as well the series on a whole, takes itself seriously enough, but not too seriously to the point where it forget exactly what is. You can have a moment where Berenger and Glenn Plummer argue about whether the former is a racist, and still have Cliff De Young farting uncontrollably in another, and it all fits.
Like the staging of the action sequences can be seen as ridiculous, being that the climax essentially turns into a full on war movie, complete with RPGs, in a high school, but it is handled with a down and dirty, gritty aesthetic that it all balances itself out. This is just a well oiled machine of an action movie.
And you’re absolutely right about the state of franchises out now. I don’t know what it is, but there does seem to be quite the fascination with the aging action star at this point. I mean I like the old action guys, but it’s unfortunate that because of that very fascination, younger guys deserving of those type of franchises, like a Scott Adkins or Kellan Lutz, get thrown to the wayside.
For instance, when I’m watching John Wick 3, and the filmmakers have to come up with an actual excuse for why The Raid guys are obviously holding back against Reeves (And I say this as someone who absolutely adores Reeves), I always say to myself in my mind: “This wouldn’t be a problem if Scott Adkins were here.” But that’s just me…
CS: Yes indeed! Even some Action franchises come out too soon with needless sequels to where one forgets how badass the original was. I used to think that the likes of Matthew Vaughn or Chris Nolan were going to keep surprising us, only for them to either make one unneeded sequel too many or venture off into less Action-y territory.
Director Robert Mandel seemed to be a beyond competent choice given how he had handled other telefilms and shows in the Action/SciFi/Drama/Thriller territory. Fun fact, he was involved with the original F/X, which I always felt was the type of film that Hollywood was loosely inspired by to reference now and again, especially in any witness protection/spy flick. And TV filmmakers def are able to work with lower budgets so it was an easy win here for sure. The writers I’m disappointed haven’t done as much after a certain point but given how so many end up freelancing or selling screenplays, their personal resume could very well be bigger compared to their IMDb.
RA: Agreed. With TV directors, they’re obviously hired because they work fast, but most of them have a workman like style that lacks flair and energy. Arnold Schwarzenegger had an issue with this very thing when Paul Michael Glaser was hired to direct The Running Man. But while Mandel brings that same efficiency to the movie, he still maintained a nice visual panache to go along with it.
CS: So very true, and in Glaser’s case, he was an actor turned director working with Arnold in the prime of his career so I’m sure there were different personas that weren’t a good match. Lionsgate (or Live/Artisan as it was known in the ‘90s) def figured out the shoot-fast-and-do-it-well approach. IMDb claims this was shot in Miami and wildly enough, this premise isn’t one that had any particular city to reference because it wasn’t really crucial to the plot, unlike any other type of action/crime film but the sequels do actually play up their different locations in order to allow for newer and different things (and to possibly justify being worthy sequels).
RA: Oh you’re absolutely right about Lionsgate. They’ve practically gotten the shoot-fast-and-do-it-well approach down to a science, especially now with their Lionsgate Premiere label. And the location aspect rings double true for Pt. 3, which is supposed to be set in Long Island, but was shot in Salt Lake City, and it doesn’t even matter.
CS: That’s wild! Nowadays, everyone is shooting in Atlanta or North Carolina since tax incentives aren’t the same elsewhere anymore and everyone insists on location-based stories but you do have to wonder sometimes if they are just making pre-production that much harder on themselves.
RA: Oh, for sure. I’m just glad its places like that and not Toronto for the millionth time. I’ve seen those same locations so many times I feel like I’ve practically been there already.
PART 2: SCHOOL’S OUT (1998):
CS: This was the beginning of the premise’s continuation with a new character but same overall focus. When I first saw it, I found it almost there but was either in a bad mood or just found it lame in general. In fact, I had to be as for some stupid reason I found that this was an irresponsible film when this wasn’t trying to a world-changing film with a social message- just more silly mischief aplenty.
El Rey network showed a trilogy marathon of this back in 2018 and I rectified it by enduring said programming and finding that it was still an energetic entry. I still don’t find it the best of the franchise (more on that later) but it’s still has a worthy existence on its own terms. The film has some of the same supporting characters, veteran character actor Treat Williams is comfortable as the lead star let alone in the action-y bits and BD Wong was a delightful scoundrel, and his usual scene-steal self.
RA: Oh yeah, I was a bit perplexed to see Berenger replaced by Williams of all people. Like “this is the guy they replaced Berenger with??” At the time, I only knew him as the bad guy from The Phantom and Michelle Pfeiffer’s husband from The Deep End of the Ocean (In his defense, he is absolutely fantastic in both movies). I enjoyed the movie more or less but Berenger’s absence was a sticking point.
It was only in retrospect when I realized just how perfect the casting of Williams really was, even more so than Bereneger, because he actually looks like a substitute teacher! He really carries a disarming, everyman quality that Berenger kind of lacked. Berenger’s Shale has an edgy demeanor to him that made you think twice before messing with him. You’d never think twice before crossing Williams’ Thomasson, and that would be your biggest mistake.
CS: Man, you keep nailing this discussion! Yeah, both actors sorta had underappreciated careers but while Treat had had Action/War roles, this and 36 Hours to Die really helped remind people that he can do Action. Sometimes I have found his performances questionable or over-the-top but never trite. And doing these films back-to-back with more family shows, telefilms and Lifetime dramas def kept him busy but never forgotten.
While he gets some fights here, Treat mainly tries to justify being Tom’s replacement here by keeping the school in order. While never a pacifist, he at least maintains likability and enforces more believability by being the bigger man before getting his hands dirty. The punks and gangmembers are a little pretentious but the final hallway shoot-outs are a little engaging if not always creative; I wouldn’t say they outdo the original’s ending but they don’t feel like they’re trying to one-up it either- just be effective.
Wong’s antagonist was a little more complex than Ernie Hudson’s but I wouldn’t say as interesting. Still, Wong brought some class and wit, which was great fun, and seeing him be shameless in his petty actions and always having a silenced weapon at the ready only complements his ruthlessness.
RA: Yeah, I’ll give you that. While he does have a tendency to go over the top at times, I feel he does so as an understanding of the movie he’s in. He’s a smart guy, and he always seems to give the kind of performance he feels that particular film deserves. But going into what you said about the climax of the movie, I think that can be said about the action scenes of the movie in general.
I guess they tried to cover up the fact that Treat didn’t really know how to fight as much as possible by having him be pacifistic. Or do alternate badass things like the yoyo in class trick (awesome scene, btw).
The most curious thing about the movie to me is the choice in director. Steven Pearl made only one short film and a full length one before this, and while his work on the film is decent enough, he lacks a certain quality that his predecessor and his successor gave to their respective entries. It plays almost like a harder edged TV movie, although a considerably entertaining one.
PART 3: WINNER TAKE ALL (1999)
CS: So after a successful ratings/in-place distribution deal(?), a second sequel emerged. It was one that easily had the most action and while I previously found it trashy (was I high?), I rectified it with a rewatch and if it’s not the best entry then it’s at least the best of the sequels. It’s def Treat’s best hour as we’re treated to a Bosnian(?) prison rescue prior to a steroids and hostile gang storyline in a different city location. Much like in the original, Treat must rely on two pals for help in his gang infiltration (instead of being a lone gun), plus he has a legit teacher he fancies, admires and chooses to protect. The humor is clever (ex: wet t-shirt contest undercover op), the action is less outrageous (more van action and even swordplay), it still looks like a professional theatrical/telefilm release, and there’s more sudden tension after loads of build-up. Hell, there were even better retorts in the classroom segments before ditching the whole school setting by the second half (unexpectedly but not unwelcome either surprisingly).
Speaking of the original, this film often (and possibly still is) often only available in a two-pack with the original film. If there are any DVD/Blu-Ray upgrades in store then it’s def time to write Shout! Factory a suggestion. I could only imagine the amusing special features we’d get.
RA: Oh yeah, now we’re talking! I love me some Part 3! Just like you said, if it’s not better than the original, it’s def the closest one. The inclusion of filmmaker Robert Radler of Best of the Best 1&2 fame as director was a perfect choice. The action is handled much better, and Treat looks better and much more comfortable in the fight scenes. Also, the villains seem to be more despicable while being a less serious threat, if that makes any sense.
This entry also features my favorite moment in the entire franchise: When the roided up football players are harassing the teacher in the pizza parlor, and Treat approaches them with the line “Hi, I’m collecting for the local blood bank. Care to make a donation?” before beating the ever loving crap out of them. One of my all time favorite badass movie moments.
Regarding the DVD, that’s exactly the version I have. It has always bugged me why they chose to pair 1 with 3 instead of with 2. It makes it look weird when they’re sitting together on the shelf. I have found a copy or two of the original, so it is possible to still find copies of it by itself, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a copy of Part 3 by itself. Shout! Factory definitely needs to get on that ASAP!
CS: Yes, freaking hell yes! The parlor scene is so amusing yet you can actually see it happening for real because the way the one-liner is delivered is both clever nor does it take forever (it pisses me off when I see a movie trying to be plausible and where everyone keeps stalling to talk- real fights are fast and quick not stop, punch, stop again, etc.).
And it’s wild because many other movies, shows and even DTV actioners like this one with Don “The Dragon” Wilson called Whatever It Takes had also previously had people infiltrating a steroids based gang. It also is a welcome emphasis for the villains, like you said, where they’re not super-villain bad but they’re still carrying some serious harmful stuff and because it’s detrimental and they’re hostile (much like the Skinheads in Part 4; more later!), you’re able to root for their comeuppance without making the film feel nihilistic like Death Wish-type vigilante sagas later ended up becoming (entertaining or not).
And since Pt.2 was just a lite-version of Pt.1, this is all the more welcome. It’s even more awesome since Claudia Christian (who I actually saw her in films like this before becoming familiar with her work on Babylon 5)‘s character is basically working as a fitness instructor and is also able to add a badass female character with wit. James Black has been underused prior (sometimes in lesser looking productions) but he fares rather well. Plus, that awesome samurai sword!
So long story short: it basically add details to the military gang stuff we saw in Pt.1 while being as testosterone driven as the steroids depicted themselves. Come to think of it, this is probably the most plausible version of steroids in a movie, let alone an Action film! Every other film/show had the nerve to make everyone be superhuman beating the tar out of each other and this one is just like “They’re clearly not getting ripped naturally; they got a criminal affiliation; let’s investigate before they pass it out to this otherwise peaceful school!”
RA: Damn, you kind of took the words right out of my mouth for this one! I don’t know if there’s anything left to add… Nah, just kidding. But seriously, Claudia Christian is so awesome in this (as well as everything she’s in) and I love her whole dynamic with the team. My favorite part featuring her is her introduction. Treat asks her to go undercover in a “titty bar” (Her words) and she’s initially apprehensive. But not because she feels the job is demeaning, but because she feels her boobs are too small! And Christian pulls that scene off perfectly.
And you are not kidding about James Black. The man is a solid presence in everything he’s been in, but yet he’s never utilized for more than a few mins each movie. Thank god that is not the case here. He’s given ample and enough screen time to show the audience that he can be an exceptional action performer if used correctly and thoroughly.
You also hit the nail right on the head about the school setting getting ditched. It’s like the filmmakers were like “Ok, do we have enough school in this? We do? Ok, let’s move on.” when they got to the midway point. Which is fine by me, as it’s not another retread of part 1. They followed what I like to call the 3E rule of a successful sequel: Echo. Expand. Escalate. They echo the initial premise of the franchise as they expand on the characters and the universe, then they escalate the situation. This is truly grade A sequel making.
CS: Man, can I quote you on the 3E rule. Some awesome adjectives there! But this film prob wouldn’t be a bad way to introduce people to the series if they had to blindly check it out either.
That’s hysterical- Claudia is too cool. I wish she’d appear in more budgeted films as oppose to doing endless conventions and voice-overs; about the closest she’s done were recent guest spots on NCIS and 9-1-1.
So overall, this either should’ve been Pt.2 or Pt.2 should’ve just been a bit more brutal, but either way this installment should be viewed by all Action fans, let alone anyone who dares to do a third part as this film feels like the original Punisher: War Zone.
PART IV FINALE: FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION:
CS: So in the final chapter, Treat’s final entry as Karl shows that he still has it. Following a cool opening where he’s rescuing another military pal on the Argentine/Bolivia border and another dry one-liner (the mind that could’ve been good or lame depending on the performer), the film then cuts to Georgia. Here, Karl is assigned by an old acquaintance (played by the late great deep-voiced actor J. Don Ferguson) to infiltrate a Neo-Nazi operate military base camp that harbors terrorist activity towards minorities of any kind while not even hiding their White power elitism.
Like some other reviews have mentioned, there are some parallels once more to the Best of the Best franchise, although most were too busy noticing that the Neo-Nazi story is similar to BotB 3 and the director of both franchises but the rabbit hole is actually much deeper here this go-around: BotB 2 baddie Patrick Kilpatrick is the main antagonist here (and stellar as always) and Simon Rhee (main opponent in BotB 1) is the main squad leader leading some of the violent activities.
This is much better than I remembered and it just shows that memory can fail one sometimes based on one’s mood, maturity or even the time as this is far classier compared to what I remembered. I saw part of this (technically this was the first entry I saw parts of) on Cinemax during Jr. High and remembered the titties of Angie Everhart and the construction truck fight (more on that later) but it overall looked cheesy, and I sorta considered this a trashy guilty pleasure when I went thru this again during college but I was clearly blind.
In a honesty, I remembered this as a JAG episode with Skinemax material but that’s only half right as it has the brief investigation of the former before going to the franchise’s usual vigilante justice, and the sexual elements of the latter barely register as pornographic here; it’s a guy’s movie, but def not a late-night, bow-chick-a-wow-wow flick. If anything, it’s much more similar to the Sean Connery film The Presidio (also with Kilpatrick coincidentally) while having the passive-aggressive subtexted threats of the original Sub film and the third film’s same 3-person tactical assault action.
In many ways, I wouldn’t call this the best film in the franchise as there are some partially unanswered questions but this isn’t meant to be a food-for-thought series just clever OTT fun. The fun is still on display although the attempted romance with Everhart and Treat I didn’t really care for at first but once you see where it’s going at the end, you just accept it. Kilpatrick is an electrifying psycho-in-disguise and may be the best villain since Hudson in Pt.1 as BD Wong in Pt.2 was just a rehash and there were too many guys in Pt.3. Simon Rhee being a stuntman and coordinator was never the deepest actor but still gets a good scene where he says to Kilpatrick that he’s loyal to the supremacist cause but that Kilpatrick is an idiot (without actually saying it) as he’s Korean and not Japanese. It also shows that he’s not just another grunt and is willing to participate in such a hate-fueled raid (perhaps even against his own kind if ever ordered) due to his blind loyalty.
The film is surprisingly suspenseful as a whole and actually effective in that area as it keeps things from being all given away or feeling repetitive, especially since everyone is just spying on each other before the inevitable stalemate. As a result of the mystery displayed, we don’t know who Treat’s allies actually are even in the first 20 minutes but they come in the form of Tim Abell (a military man turned actor who was in the similar film The Base) and the late solid Bill Nunn as a veteran turned conspiracy theorist.
I pretty much gave away the mystery for non-viewers but oh well. This was a solid final film and while not fully well-grinded, it was never short of energy and it was actually cool having Treat not be the main victorious hero once again as he pretty much infiltrates or conjures up more cadets to join his fight based on his brief undercover teacher role at the base. And much like the brooding suspense, the film is able to show the White supremacist assholes without preaching or overdoing this real-life issue. So many films/shows often struggle to depict a social issue and this film kept is simple and lets the audience feel in the gaps.
The action is rapid-fire especially Simon’s final gory knife fight with Treat. And at first during Tim Abell’s intro where he uses Treat as a training demonstration, I thought Tim was going to be the main henchman! I could’ve used some other martial artists to play other heroes like Thomas Ian Griffith or Michael Jai White but knowing their ego and scenery chewing that they do on-screen and off, it would’ve been too much. Either way, this is one of Tim’s better roles due to the layering, witty characterization and way more mainstream than some of his other B-movie credits.
RA: Oh yeah, same here. This was a hell of a lot better than I had recalled. For the purposes of this discussion, I rewatched all 4 movies (had to with this one, since I couldn’t remember a thing about it), and I discovered that A). Part 2 wasn’t as good, and B). Part 4 was not bad at all.
Another thing I noticed is that Treat looked really damn awesome in his action scenes! Watching the evolution of him as an action performer was probably the most entertaining thing about my rewatch (aside from the films themselves, of course). To go from awkward but ok in 2, pretty good in 3, to looking like he could kick current day Steven Seagal’s ass is nothing short of inspiring. Its a shame this was the final film in the franchise, because I can only imagine how good he would’ve looked in the next entry!
Did you just mention Patrick Kilpatrick to me? My all time favorite movie bad guy? The creator and headmaster of the Patrick Kilpatrick school of villainous acting (my term for an actor who always plays a douchebag. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Danny Huston and Ben Mendelsohn are graduates)? My eyes light up like trees at Christmas whenever I see Patrick Kilpatrick’s name in a movie, because I know he’s gonna be an awesome prick, and he does not disappoint in this one! Just a pure breed scumbag of the highest order.
And not just him, but the rest of the werewolves. Especially the student leader Buckner. What a weenie! I thought it was kind of funny how Thomasson shows more animosity and aggression toward him than the guy who killed his brother in Part 2! But it was well earned, you know, with the little prick being a holocaust denier and all.
Regarding its place in the franchise, I would place it at a firm 3rd place. 3 edges 1 by a nose, 4 is not too far behind, and 2 is not too far behind but clearly huffing it. And not for nothing, in reference to the Thomasson trilogy of Substitute movies, I was kind of reminded of the Has Fallen film series: first film is a solid actioner that’s highly derivative of previous action movies before it (Die Hard with OHF, the original with Part 2), has a little more fun in its next entry (and both films are my favorite in the franchise), then gets a little more serious and darker, while still staying somewhat playful in tone in the third installment, as the hero fights bad guys from within who want to change the way the world looks while getting betrayed by someone close to him.
Ehhh… I may be reaching with that one. Made sense to me.
CS: No, totally made sense (I even reread your site’s new article regarding the Olympus Has Fallen trilogy). And beautifully stated; Kilpatrick seems to be underutilized nowadays, but like Andrew Divoff and the aforementioned Cary Tagawa, he does occasionally pops up which is great because you end up eventually seeing him in other unrecognizable roles. And as much as we would love to see him in roles similar to his earlier beloved roles (i.e. Death Warrant), I welcome his other unpredictable choices wether it’s in an A-list supporting role like Minority Report or another VOD released low-brow actioner.
So before Kilpatrick had noteworthy scene-stealing guest-star roles on TV (after all he “killed” Jack Bauer on 24’s fourth season finale, he played a scary cyborg on the Terminator show and was in a goofy villain role on Chuck), he delivered easily a career best here! Much like the mentioned wimpy chickenshit Judaism racist goon, Kilpatrick astounds you with the outrageous bullshit he supports while hiding behind a military vest. For all he cares, he might as well had bern a College Dean given his shameless excuses, manipulation and deception on display here.
Spoilers (not a surprise given how in-depth we’ve gotten): I agree that the progression of Treat’s Karl is great here but it was even wise for the film to not have him duke it out with Kilpatrick (as it wouldn’t had been believable seeing even him go up against this mighty brute). And in many ways, the Karl character does get the last laugh as he has taught all the basecamp cadets to fight for justice which is a total “Fuck you!” to Kilpatrick as he realizes that his brain-washing tactics proved only half successful.
RA: Absolutely! It was smart they went that route with the ending for 2 reasons: 1. Any fight between them wouldn’t have been able to top the fight between Treat and Simon (so hilarious that they have Korean actor Simon Rhee playing the second in commando to an overt racist), and 2. like you said, it was more fitting that his ultimate comeuppance come from the students he tried so vigorously to brainwash.
Also, its not enough that he’s racist scumbag, *Spoilers* he also has the creepy eyes for his daughter who uses to… mess with one of the cadets on his team. Like… why? Why does he do this? For no reason other than he’s a scumbag! And Patrick Kilpatrick is obviously having a ball playing this guy. I can’t recall someone having so much fun playing such a horrible person. Performances like this, Showdown with Billy Blanks, Best of the Best 2 and my personal favorite performance from him, Scanner Cop 2: Volkin’s Revenge, showcase why he’s one of the best genre movie villains ever.
CS: LOL that makes two people who have seen Scanner Cop 2!😆 Yeah, I couldn’t tel if he was meant to be implied as an incestuous father in addition to simply being a psycho creep who uses even family members to seduce/manipulate people he knows. Hell, after breaking this down, I hope Kilpatrick gets his own Man on Fire/Taken type one-man army film!
As for the franchise, years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to hear anyone be tempted to see Treat and Tom Berenger team up in a follow-up film especially with Berenger continually doing sequels to his other hit film Sniper. But alas, it seems like that day has passed far and beyond unfortunately. I wouldn’t be against a reboot or another sequel-in-name-only with someone like Stone Cold, Eric Roberts or even Corbin Bernsen playing an everyday man. Dolph Lundgren could work, having done both Detention and Kindergarten Cop 2 prior!
They could even change up the background story like have it be a bouncer or pvt. security firm head who has to look after his estranged son/cousin/nephew at a newly opened yet problem ridden school. Maybe even have it be a middle-class school with some ruthless rich people trying to take it over or some crooked teachers organizing a worker’s strike with a double agenda or even bribing school bullies to organize some after-school, illegal gambling street fights?
RA: Oh I’d be totally down for another installment! They could even go the “Sniper” route and have it be the son of Thomasson… or better yet, have it be the niece of Thomasson from Part 2. She’s all grown up, and a badass merc just like her uncle. Then she has a friend, or maybe a boyfriend who’s a teacher, and they get assaulted by the students of this troublesome school, and the situation hits way too close to home, and she follows in her uncle’s footsteps and becomes The New Substitute!
You can get Gina Carano, or Lauren Cohan (who was very convincing as a badass in Mile 22 I should say). Or maybe stuntwoman extraordinaire Heidi Moneymaker, which could mean we’ll get action design from 87eleven, the stunt company responsible for the John Wick franchise, and co-founded by her husband Chad Stahelski.
Your idea would be great too. I was thinking maybe someone like Bren Foster, Kellan Lutz, or Matthew Reese, from the movie Riot with Dolph Lundgren. I think he’d be great. Stone Cold would definitely be a welcome addition to the franchise. I’ve been wanting to see him do action movies again, and I want another entry into the franchise. You can kill 2 birds with one stone right there!
CS: Holy shit, Heidi and her sister are both from my home state of Texas. Glad someone else keeps up with the stunt legends of the world!
Good puns and suggestions- a son of the Sub would be icing on the cake. Having it be more personal would make for better drama versus just another bizarre gang conspiracy.
RA: Wow, that’s awesome! You got something in the water over there or something? Lol… but yeah, either a brand new sub or a son of the sub would greatly suffice in this day and age. Hell, you could even have the good folks at Lionsgate Premiere/Grindstone start producing new entries. Maybe they can get Bruce Willis in it… most likely as a villain though.
RA: LOL, yes to all! I am so surprised that they haven’t though given the amount of Leprechaun films they created. If they don’t do a new Substitute (with the usual suspects of actors) then at least give us another Wishmaster with Andrew Duvoff returning, or even a some Dolph Lundgren film that they own. Funny how years ago, Bruce would’ve taken a pay-cut and been the lead in one of these films but now more than likely would be doing a key villain role for reduced 2-day’s pay.
CS: LOL, yes to all! I am so surprised that they haven’t though given the amount of Leprechaun films they created. If they don’t do a new Substitute (with the usual suspects of actors) then at least give us another Wishmaster with Andrew Divoff returning, or even a sequel to some Dolph Lundgren film that they own. Funny how years ago, Bruce would’ve taken a pay-cut and been the lead in one of these films but now more than likely would be doing a key villain role for reduced 2-day’s pay.
RA: Yeah, that just seems to be his thing now. Get paid a million a day for 1-2 days work. As long as they reserve the mentor role for either a returning Berenger or Williams instead of Willis, I’m game for it!
CS: Hell, years ago it would’ve been hysterical if De Niro or Whitaker had been in on this but now ironically they’re often subjected to such easy B-movie pay grades.
RA: Yeah, It seems the older guys just stop caring after a while and just go for the easy paycheck. The Cameron Mitchell effect, as I like to call it…
CS: That’s a great phrase for it and he was sorta doing this around the same time that Michael Caine got big.
RA: We should devise a level chart for actors who do movies purely for the check. Level one could be Michael Caine and the highest level could be Cameron Mitchell.
CS: Who would be next (besides Mike Madsen, Eric Roberts and Danny Trejo)?
RA: David Carradine.
CS: There you go! The king of teaching people East meets West practices while bring along swords, beer and whatever current girlfriend/wife he was on at the time from set to set.
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