The Rock shines as delinquents’ football coach in ‘Gridiron Gang’

Wow! That is the only word that can describe the movie “Gridiron Gang.”

At first glance of the previews, you would think “Gridiron Gang” is yet another predictable, inspirational movie about helping underprivileged children. But when you see the movie, you will be amazed.

Based on a true story, “Gridiron Gang” begins at Camp Kilpatrick, a juvenile detention center in Los Angeles, and shows the viewer just how the children are treated and behave under such conditions.

“Gridiron Gang” exposes the viewer to the realities of gang violence and control over young men’s minds and that ultimately, everyone wants, needs and strives to have something positive in his or her life to move him or her in the right direction.

Probation officer Sean Porter, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, sees how children are torn away from each other due to gangs and street sets.

In an effort to create unity and love for one another, Porter creates a high school-level football team for the children at Kilpatrick.

Porter has to overcome criticism from his staff and other high school teams who do not want their boys playing with “criminals.”

Through all the odds, Porter and his co-worker, Malcolm Moore, played by Xzibit, begin the Mustangs, Kilpatrick’s team. The next task is get rid of the kids’ gang mentality and get them to respect each other.

Porter and Moore give the kids the “Mustang Challenge,” a challenge that consists of living for yourself and your teammates and filling the void of loneliness in the kids’ lives.

Throughout the movie, the football players at Kilpatrick prove to themselves that they are winners and deserve to be looked at as such by society.

Johnson did a magnificent job of convincing the audience he was a no-nonsense officer whose only purpose in life was to motivate his kids. The producers couldn’t have chosen a better actor for the part – except Denzel Washington.

Not only did Johnson look incredibly good in the movie, he also encompassed a certain element that lets the viewers know he is really passionate about the role he was portraying, as opposed to other roles Johnson played in past.

Xzibit also deserves credit for his supporting role as Officer Moore. Unimpressive in “xXx: State of the Union,” Xzibit showed another side of himself in “Gridiron Gang.” He, too, did an excellent job of relaying the message of the movie to viewers.

Actors Jade Yorker, Setu Taase, Trever O’Brien, Mo and Danny Martinez displayed a sense of assertiveness as young juvenile delinquents that have to overcome many personal and social issues in order to successfully become power players on the team.

Do not let the fact that the movie is rated PG-13 for some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language fool you. “Gridiron Gang” is filled with issues to which everyone needs to be exposed.

Filled with both comedy and drama, “Gridiron Gang” is a must see for everyone. The movie even shows actual footage from the real Mustangs as the credits run at the end of the movie. This gives viewers a real perspective on the characters that were played by actors during the movie.

Because the movie is loaded with surprises and suspense, it would not do “Gridiron Gang” or its potential viewers’ justice to simply give the readers of the review a detailed summary of the movie. Get up and go see it.

“Gridiron Gang” earns nothing but an A. Comparable to the inspirational movies “Akeelah and the Bee” and “Remember the Titans,” Gridiron is a wonderful movie for people of all ages.

If you are in the mood for a funny, hope-filled movie that will have you walking out the theater saying, “Yes, that was worth my money,” you need to go see “Gridiron Gang.”

Grade: A