Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Class of 1999 Part 2: The Substitute



CLASS OF 1999 PART 2: THE SUBSTITUTE (1994)

Directed by: Spiro Razatos
Written by: Mark Sevi
Starring: Sasha Mitchell, Nick Cassavetes & Caitlin Dulany

Class of 1999 Part 2: The Substitute, now there’s a catchy title that screams out, ‘good film.’ Right? Well actually, yeah. A decently made film despite obvious budget limitations and surprisingly entertaining, Class of 1999 Part 2 isn’t all that bad. Go on, give it a chance.

John Bolen (Mitchell) is the only surviving cyborg teacher from the events in Class Of 1999. Believing his mission is still to control troublesome teenagers by any force necessary (i.e. death), he sets his sights on a new embattled high school. Dishing out some severe neck-breaking justice, he meets fellow teacher Janna McKenzie (Dulany), who takes a surprising interest in our loveable cyborg’s obsession with war. Soon, John is experiencing all kinds of emotions and discovers he is not always able to kill. Add in elements such as Jenna being terrorized by a local hood; a fellow love interest in some bloke called Emmett (Cassavetes); a sinister stranger keeping an eye on John; and a mammoth paint ball game where destruction is the order of the day, means school is well and truly out.



Directed by stunt master (and car chase king), Spiro Razatos, the action, fights and deaths (but no car chases…boo) come thick and fast. The opening scenes featuring the cyborg teacher finishing off some students at an earlier school, are well staged and capture the essence of the previous film: punk teenagers running amok who need killing. The acting is slightly above par with both Cassavetes (now a big time director) and Dulany (Maniac Cop 3) engaging as the two leads. Mitchell (Kickboxer 2, 3 and 4) provides the right monosyllabic tone as the justice seeking cyborg, and is effective in the action scenes. Only Jack Knight (Law & Order), as the town sheriff, comes off badly, with some ill-advised attempts at black comedy.



Those expecting another cyborg smashing onslaught reminiscent of Class of 1999 (a decent flick too) will be very unhappy (and judging by internet response, you are). After the initial scenes, the film takes on a feel of its own: more low-budget action than futuristic, cyborg mayhem. The teenagers are still unruly and punk-like, but the future world of Class Of 1999 is nonexistent. There are no cyborg style special effects, save for some reused footage from the previous film and come the denouement the film has barely bugger all to do with Class of 1999. Plus, if Class of 1999 was the follow up to Class of 1984, then shouldn’t this entry be Class of 1984 Part 3 or maybe even Class of 2014, going with the 15 year gap between the setting of the films? Just a thought.

The romantic subplot and subsequent screentime given to Jenna and Emmet is unnecessary and does slow things down come the halfway mark. However, while not a superior sequel to the previous flick, Class of 1999 Part 2 is nevertheless an entertaining low budget action film and, for a schlocky B-move flick, that’s pretty damn good. Bring on Class of 1999 Part 3…or would it be Class Of 2029…or…whatever. Class dismissed.

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