Class Of 1999 (DVD)

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Class Of 1999 (DVD)

Violence at the Lyndon B. Johnson High School has got out of hand, so the Education Board decide to send in robots to take the place of the teachers. ...

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Review of "Class Of 1999 (DVD)"

published 18/04/2014 | Jarisleif
Member since : 11/02/2012
Reviews : 443
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Ciao gone the same way as DooYoo. Time to depart, methinks.
Super
Pro A decent storyline
Cons Some acting tends to be a little too much
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"The Future of the Class of 1999"

Class of 1999

"Class of 1999" is a 1990 sci-fi film which was directed by Mark L. Lester, who has also directed such films as "Commando" (1985), "Armed and Dangerous" (1986), and "Poseidon Rex" (2013).

Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.


Outline

The film is 99 minutes in length and stars Bradley Gregg ("Stand by Me", "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3") as Cody Culp, Traci Lind ("Voyager", "The End of Violence", "Fright Night Part 2") as Christine Langford, and Malcolm McDowell ("A Clockwork Orange", "Star Trek: Generations", "The Surgeon") as Dr. Miles Langford.


Plot

The plot for the film reads as follows: In a future world in Seattle, high schools are one step above the prisons.


Introduction

"Class of 1999" is a sequel to Mark L. Lester's 1982 film, "Class of 1984", though very different in genre. Whereas the first in the film series was more of an action picture, this one is laid out in the sci-fi mould. In 1994, "Class of 1999 II" was released which went direct-to-video, but did not really serve as a follow-up at all. Mark L. Lester did a great job with casting, bringing in famous names like Stacy Keach and Malcolm McDowell, as well as a fresh-faced Pam Grier, who had unbelievably been in Hollywood for 20 years previously. Is it any good? Let's find out!


Review

The film begins with the opening credits that tells us about violent incidents in America by gangs which are known as free-fire zones where the police will not enter and there is no law. The computer screen focuses on Seattle in Washington State, before it switches to live action and Dr. Bob Forrest's horrendous mullet horrendous mullet. Yes folks, Stacey Keach as you've never seen him before, or are likely to see him again! Anyway, here he's talking to a group of individuals about a new breed of teachers, and introduces his three prototypes who all look very human but are quite the opposite.

The first thing of note is that the writer and director saw 1999 as a very different world than what I remember it being. Of course there are lawless parts of the world but I don't ever see that happening in America. Another thing which spiked my interest was how he envisaged the cars of the last year of the 20th century. Now as this was only nine years after the film was made I wouldn't have seen much difference at all, but these vehicles are very futuristic and we haven't seen anything like those, even in this day and age. They look good, but it is quite clear that they're just plastic body shells made to fit over a standard car. Clothing, too, is quite different. It is vivid and bright which reminds me of the 60s and 'Flower Power'.

As the new teachers are settling in, they have to make decisions on how to control their very unruly students. Ms. Connors (Pam Grier) first chose to play it cool and observe her class before selecting to use physical harm and control the situation. Mr. Hardin (John P. Ryan) elected to use corporal punishment in a very humorous way, as he splits up two kids who were fighting. I had to laugh as he stood on one while throwing the other over his knee and spanking him so viciously that the pupil was screaming in pain. Mr. Bryles (Patrick Kilpatrick) went a different route, but I won't give the game away, if anyone wishes to watch the film.

There are a few references to "A Clockwork Orange" in this film, and it could only have been planned as a homage to Stanley Kubrick. The first such instance involves a student who has an eyelash just like Alex DeLarge and on the right eye only, while the second involves Stacy Keach in a bar drinking what is presumably milk. For those that remember Kubrick's classic, Alex and his crew can often be seen in milk bars. A standoff between two rival gangs in "Class of 1999" was done first in "A Clockwork Orange" as Alex's mob squared off against Billyboy and his crew. Incidentally, Malcolm McDowell (who was Alex in "A Clockwork Orange") plays a part in this film, also. I have always little references in films as a nod to those before them, which is a lot better than the blatant ripping off that we see in many films each year. Still, could be worse – it could be the remake of "Red Dawn"!

The mechanics in the film are pretty good for being low budget. James Cameron showed everyone how it's done with a huge Hollywood budget on "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" a year later, and while the robotics here aren't brilliant, they are still able to move around as you would expect an android to do. However, the main problem I had was when the three androids were in human form, you couldn't tell they were robotic, but when the real action started and they suffered a little damage, you could hear the whirring of mechanics, which did not go well with continuity, if you like.


Characters

The characters of the film are a wide and varied bunch. Some of those have vast experience on the big screen, while it is pretty obvious that others are almost scared of what they're doing. With Stacy Keach you have commanding authority in front of the camera, and that shows in his portrayal of Dr. Bob Forest. I can imagine him being like that in real life, which adds an air of authenticity to the role. Malcolm McDowell's character, Dr. Miles Langford, is a far cry from that of Alex DeLarge in "A Clockwork Orange". He's meek and mild-mannered character who wants the best out of the pupils, and questions every motive involved in bringing in the robots. Of the kids, it's clear that Bradley Kelp hadn't had much experience with film acting. He's quite nervous in delivering his lines as Cody Culp and goes over the top a little. The same can't be said for Traci Lind, who plays Christie Langford. It seems that she was born for acting and was destined for big things, but in 1997 quit the profession for good.


Summary

I liked the film, though some would say it was so full of holes you could call it a sponge. There were some great scenes, some of which I have already pointed out, but others in which I will leave to the imagination and let you watch it yourself, should you wish. The first time I saw this was probably 1991 or so, when I was randomly flicking through Sky Movies for something to watch at 1am (or whatever it was called back then), and the synopsis grabbed me enough to start it. If it's not good, I'll watch something else, I thought, but I stayed all the way through it. Now I own it on DVD and pressed my button of fate. I have an Excel random number generator which picks the film I will watch next, and this one popped out of it. If you aren't a fan of sci-fi, you probably won't like this film, but if you like the horror aspect as well, you're going to at least enjoy it. I did.


What the Critics Say

Entertainment Weekly: "The best part of the film is the climactic battle, in which Lester's B-movie musings about the jadedness of today's youth take a back seat to lurid special effects."

Variety: "A follow-up to the 1982 pic "Class of 1984" this violent exploitation film is too pretentious for its own good. Director Mark L. Lester takes a cynical, fake-hip view of young people’s future."

New York Times: "This is the paranoid student's dream movie, full of absurd battle scenes and failed attempts at dark humor."

Washington Post: "[The movie] gets a D for dumb, dull and derivative."

My rating: 7/10

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Comments on this review

  • eve6kicksass published 22/03/2015
    I'm the one who wrote a Ciao review on CLASS OF 1984 way back in the day; haven't watched the sequels, but I wouldn't mind to! :)
  • JOHNV published 29/04/2014
    Superb review.
  • Dentolux published 24/04/2014
    Sounds entertaining, even if the cover resembles a cheap Terminator rip-off.
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Product Information : Class Of 1999 (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Violence at the Lyndon B. Johnson High School has got out of hand, so the Education Board decide to send in robots to take the place of the teachers. When the students find out that the robots are killing to discipline they join together to confront their executioners in a battle of might...

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Listed on Ciao since: 13/11/2006