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January 2007


by Kam Williams


Cast: The Rock, Xzibit, L. Scott Caldwell, Leon Rippy, Kevin Dunn, See more
Director: Phil Joanou
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating PG-13
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: January 16, 2007
Run Time: 125 minutes
DVD Features:
Available Subtitles: English, French
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Commentary by the Writer and Director
Deleted Scenes
"Gridiron Gang Football Training" featurette
Phil Joanou Profile
The Rock Takes The Field
Multi-Angle Football Scene



DVD Features The Rock as Role Model in Blah Bio-Pic

You know a movie must have been mediocre when you enjoy the closing credits the best. This is the case with Gridiron Gang, what is supposed to be a heartwarming bio-pic about the exploits of a real-life role model. The film is based on a documentary of the same name released in 1993, which chronicled the admirable efforts of Sean Porter, a counselor at a California juvenile detention center, to use football as a means of transforming felons into upstanding citizens.

The film stars The Rock as Porter who, with the help of an able-bodied assistant (Xzibit), first cuts his motley mélange of miscreants down to size by telling them who’s boss. Then, mixing a combo of pep talk, intimidation and psychobabble, he infuses the misunderstood kids with some self-esteem while whipping them into game shape.

The problem with the movie is that it relies on virtually every stale staple of the sports genre en route to its transparent payoff. So, instead of sitting on the edge of your seat, don’t be surprised to find yourself yawning by the time the big game arrives. It’s unfortunate that what was undoubtedly an inspirational story could end up onscreen as such a been-there done-that hack job. As mentioned, the picture’s saving grace are the gratuitous shots of Sean Porter himself and some of his appreciative, teary-eyed players spliced in at the end. Trust me, their brief appearances turn out to be more poignant than the paint-by-numbers production which preceded.