Gridiron Gang
Keep smiling, maybe they’ll fall for our ruse and buy a ticket to see the film.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/15/2006
Director: Phil Joanou
Cast: The Rock, Xzibit, Jade Yorker

Sometimes a movie comes along and you see the trailer and you just know it’s going to be one of those formulaic films about overcoming adversity and finding the winner inside.

The problem with “Gridiron Gang” is that while the team may have become winners, the audience is clearly the losing side.

Based on a true story of a juvenile detention facility using football to build self-confidence and respect within its inmates, this film runs through the motions of every other sports film only I never started to care.

I’m a fan of The Rock, I like Xzibit and I’m a sucker for football films … how did it all go so wrong?

Looking back, I’m still not too sure. Like its ilk “Remember the Titans” and “Varsity Blues”, “Gridiron Gang” is about a team coming together and beating all odds. That should be a slam dunk of a story.

Yet, I found myself completely disinterested in the team’s struggle and I wasn’t sure what the focus of the film really was. The Rock’s mom is in the hospital dying and the incarcerated teens are looking to represent their set and throw down.

Which part of the story am I supposed to engage with?

I think “Gridiron Gang” suffers from a lack of focus and is in need of a rewrite to keep the plot points moving with a better sense of pace and intensity. The cast was decent enough and the football was portrayed well enough on screen.

Still, I can’t recommend this to anyone who isn’t looking to add a gold-plated aquarium to their car and if you want an uplifting sports film, see the aforementioned “Remember the Titans”. It’s in a whole other league.

I’m giving “Gridiron Gang” a 2 out of 5 and will now focus myself on fantasy football in an effort to wash the taste of this film out of my mouth