Class of 1984 (1982)

MARK L. LESTER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5.   Canada, 1982.  Guerilla High Productions.  Story by , Screenplay by , , Tom Holland.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

is terrific as a high school teacher who arrives at a rough urban school to take over as music teacher after his predecessor quit under mysterious circumstances.  From his first day he finds himself at war with the student body, the youngsters either terrified victims of bullying (including a very young ) or thugs who are spray-painting every wall, selling drugs in the bathroom and causing violent mayhem.  King quickly goes head to head with the leader of a school gang who will stop at nothing (and I mean nothing) to punish this square who insists on trying to make him straighten up and fly right, and the things these guys do are actually pretty disturbing.  Eventually, King decides to get revenge, and what started out as Bad Boys set among high school teenagers illogically turns into a grindhouse B-movie in its conclusion, with villains out of Mad Max who make little sense thanks to the humorless direction.  Playing its topic straight, or as straight as you can play a movie in which loses his mind and holds his class up at gunpoint, director Mark Lester tries to have it both ways:  you can’t lecture us by having delinquents watch violent movies on television and then abandon the social moralizing in favour of blood-soaked vengeance.  It’s a charismatic movie, though, shot beautifully and edited down to essential scenes that waste no time, and you’ll have a hard time tearing your eyes away.

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