Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in this gritty and inspirational movie based on a true story of a group of teenage delinquents given a second chance to redeem themselves by playing football. Sean Porter (Johnson) is a frustrated juvenile probation officer. Most of the kids in his detention camp are either sent back to prison once they leave or meet a violent end when they return to the streets. Desperately looking for a way to make a difference, he and his co-worker Malcolm Moore (Xzibit, TV's "Pimp My Ride") devise a plan to teach discipline and responsibility through the game of football. But with only four weeks before the start of the season, Porter must overcome insurmountable odds to put together a competitive team. It's a season that will test their minds, spirit, and bodies as Porter teaches his players the principles of good character, strength through resiliency, and genuine respect for one another.
In Gridiron Gang, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson once again displays far more cinematic charisma than one could expect from a former professional wrestler. Sean Porter (Johnson, Be Cool), a football player turned juvenile detention counselor, wrestles with a seemingly insolvable problem: The vast majority of young men who leave detention fall right back into crime. Seeking a way to give these not-yet-hardened kids a taste of self-esteem and discipline, Porter persuades his superiors to let him teach the kids football--and then take on high school teams. Though based on a true story (documentary footage over the closing credits reveals that some dialogue was lifted straight from the real Sean Porter's mouth), Gridiron Gang is pure underdogs-overcome-adversity formula. A formula is not necessarily a bad thing; when executed with skill and commitment, fulfilling a classic story mechanism can be perfectly satisfying, and Gridiron Gang qualifies. But it's Johnson who carries it through, demonstrating--in the most unlikely of roles--a surprisingly gentle touch. Johnson manages to be manly without overbearing machismo, earning not only respect but empathy. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from Gridiron Gang (click for larger image)
Beyond Gridiron Gang at Amazon.com