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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Dwayne Johnson
Xzibit.
Directors
Phil Joanou.
Screenwriters
Jeff Maguire
Lee Stanley.
Running Time
120 minutes

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Gridiron Gang
The Rock puts in a decent performance in this cliched sports' movie.


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Plot
The Rock plays a counsellor at a detention centre who forms his charges into an American football team. They go on to considerable success, learning self-respect and self-confidence along the way.


Review
Gridiron Gang

The track record for wrestlers-turned-actors ain’t great; Hulk Hogan, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and, faring slightly better, the late Andre The Giant. Pleasant surprise, then, that The Rock, only ever expected to aim for Arnie’s action crown, makes a very decent fist of ‘proper acting’.
 
For the first half of this true story (inspirational coach Sean Porter turns LA juvenile detention kids into a football team), director Phil Joanou avoids the usual banalities. But in the home stretch, the star’s huge shoulders have to bear the burden of every sports-movie cliché in the book. Happily, the conviction of his performance just about carries everyone over the line.


Verdict
What begins as a series of pleasant revelations and a deft example of genre defiance is nearly crippled by cliche in its second half, but The Rock's surprising dramatic magnetism will hold you until the final whistle.


Reviewed by Sam Toy

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Gridiron Gang
Empire Star Rating

Suprisingly good

I thought this was gonna be just as bad as freedom writers or dangerous minds was. But I was pleasantly surprised that this film was captivating, thought provoking and the Rock has genuine acting talent behind those huge huge muscles. The football games generate a great empathy with the audience in an adrenaline charged glory. It's footage in the closing sequence relating it to the actual story gave it a realism that really gave the edge to it. The one scene that really puts the film into contex... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by adamthecaptain at 14:32, 25 July 2009 | Report This Post


Certainly the best sports movie since Friday Night Lights (itself the greatest sports movie ever made); this movie wears it's heart on its sleeve. No cliche is untouched, but such a blatant approach surprisingly makes a superb stab at this much loved genre. The whole movie is held together by a superb performance from The Rock. This guy should be a major movie star - he has that rare ability that you just cannot teach - charisma, and he has it in abundance. Such a likeable star deserves a mas... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by McQueen at 11:59, 11 June 2007 | Report This Post


Has to be a 3

Gridiron Gang is not bad but its not great. Good fun for a couple of hours but horribly predictable. If Xzibit or The Great One were not in it, I dont think it would have been watched by many people at all! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ron burgandy at 13:18, 03 March 2007 | Report This Post


The Rock is an actor that is waiting for the big role. That movie role that will make him huge as he should be rather than just repeatedly starring in the same sort of movie all the time. Gridiron Gang is not that role, it is the sort of movie that The Rock is in repeatedly, it is the kind of movie he should be avoiding; not to say that it’s a bad movie because it isn’t. The Rock starts as Coach Porter, a former American Football player who works in a juvenile detention centre. This... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MBBarlow at 23:21, 18 February 2007 | Report This Post


The Rock is an actor that is waiting for the big role. That movie role that will make him huge as he should be rather than just repeatedly starring in the same sort of movie all the time. Gridiron Gang is not that role, it is the sort of movie that The Rock is in repeatedly, it is the kind of movie he should be avoiding; not to say that it’s a bad movie because it isn’t. The Rock starts as Coach Porter, a former American Football player who works in a juvenile detention centre. This... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MBBarlow at 23:21, 18 February 2007 | Report This Post


Gridiron Gang

Caught this on Region 1 DVD a month or so back and pretty much agree with the Empire review. Despite the cliched second half (which is still enjoyable none the less) this is thoroughly entertaining stuff and well worth watching if your a fan of Friday Night Lights, The Replacements, etc. Then there's Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. I've always found him to be immensley watchable but his performance here is a suprisingly heartfelt. Recommended 3.5/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulyboy at 10:18, 02 February 2007 | Report This Post


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