“Gridiron Gang” Review



Gabe Kardia

There are over 120,000 juveniles incarcerated in detention centers across the United States. Upon release, 75% will either return to prison or die on the street. Gridiron Gang is a movie based on the true story of a California juvenile detention called Camp Kilpatrick where these statistics are painfully true. Gridiron Gang stars Dwayne Johnson, Xzibit, and Jade Yorker and is directed by Phil Joanou. This inspirational football drama keeps you on the edge of your seat and cheering the whole time.
Sean Porter is the head of Camp Kilpatrick. Roger Weathers, a boy Sean has hope will succeed once he gets out, is killed the day he is released. Roger’s cousin, Willy Weathers (Yorker), is sent to Camp Kilpatrick after killing his mom’s abusive boyfriend, and Sean feels a need to make sure Willy doesn’t meet the same fate as his cousin. Sean needs a way to give the boys a second chance. He fights to establish a football team to teach the boys discipline, and respect, and to make them feel like they can be part of something outside of a gang.
In the four weeks before their first game, Sean faces struggles in finding teams to play, finding equipment, getting approval to take the kids off campus, and keeping the boys from fighting amongst each other, all while his mother his sick and dying in the hospital.The Kilpatrick Mustangs start their season against Barrington, the best team in the league. After a 38-0 loss, the team doesn’t want to play another game, but Junior, a player who was injured before the first game, leads them to continue, and they come together as a team.
The next week, the Mustangs come within 7 points of winning their second game, but Willy, the running back, drops the ball on the game winning play, causing tension throughout the team. The next day, Sean pads up and has Willy try to run through him, to learn how to lay a hit.The third week seems to be the charm. Down by one in the third quarter, the Mustangs need to run back a punt for a touchdown to win the game. Willy fields the ball, and is past all but one defender, and Kelvin, a rival gang member, is the only one who can protect him. Kelvin forgets his hatred for Willy, and helps him run in the game-winning touchdown. Kelvin and Willy shake hands after the game. This is a big turning point in the film as the one of the biggest conflicts is resolved. The Mustangs make it to the playoffs after winning 8 straight games.
The movie was filmed at the actual Camp Kilpatrick in western LA, and all of the main and supporting characters are based on real people. The way Joanou portrays this story about a group of delinquents, working together to do something great is, while overly-emotional at times, a gripping story about young men changing their lives.

Movie Cover For “Gridiron Gang.”

Photo Source: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=media&img=8971&id=gridirongang.htm