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The Principal Review

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Tough-talking, hard-living (he just beat up his ex-wife's boyfriend) headmaster, Rick Latimer (Belushi), is assigned the role of straightening out a crime-ridden inner city school. Rather than take the softly-softly approach, the teacher from hell doles out beatings and obscene put-downs like there's no PTA.

★★★★★

In the mould of ‘gotta be cruel to be kind’ teacher/pupil flicks, this time featuring Jim Belushi as the eponymous high-school principal who eventually wins his charges’ respect by the deft application of a baseball bat. Although the film’s inversion of the usual good morals winning out against bad that often transpires in this kind of schmaltz, the violence and lack of compromise that replaces it never feels like a triumph. Fighting fire with fire, the principal merely breaks the will of his pupils through a combination of brutal dialogue and equally caveman-like diplomacy, leaving the audience in a similar frame of mind by the end of the film

An interesting flip of the timid-teacher-wins-over-the-animals sub-genre that fails to built on its novel premises and gets lost in a whirl of meaningless violence and poor dialogue.