Class of 1984 Reviews
Class of 1984 is an average film from this genre. Very predictable if you've seen any film like this from the 1980's. The only standout in the film is the performance by Roddy McDowell, who pushes his character beyond its generic function. Otherwise, the film doesn't really stand out from any high school centered version of Death Wish. Class of 1984 serves its purpose more as a time capsule of the era than delivering anything new. This is a totally forgettable film.
Compared to the other films this is a much darker affair which does get pretty tense as you really get behind Perry King's character to defeat the gang, you wanna see him beat them. Set in the present (at the time) so everything looks as it should unlike the sequels. The film does of course look really dated now mainly down to cars, hair styles and outfits but its still a great thriller with a really nice ensemble cast that all perform well.
Van Patten as the psychopathic pretty boy leader is really good the way he switches from menacing greaser to a whimpering high school kid to trick the officials, McDowall fits this type of trashy low budget film perfectly and King really cranks up the suspense giving the film real edge.
For all its silliness, increasing amounts of violence and lack of subtlety the film is probably quite accurate I think, it possibly does show what can and has happened in urban schools to some degree, the security guards etc...a reasonable prediction. Yes this film was a video nasty back in the day in the UK, one of those films that was thought to corrupt the young and innocent hehe I can see why somewhat. Looking back now though its a good fun revenge thriller which is so gloriously 80's and introduced us all to a young chubby Michael J. Fox.
Crazy movie, mad new teacher causes escalation of violence instead of difusing it.
A second teacher holds his class hostage with a gun and the principle says, "a teacher is required to be responsible". This is portrayed as unfair. The second mad teacher tries to kill a student later that night and dies in the attempt...
But I really did enjoy it. It's nice to go back to some classic R-rated cinema with low expectations and have those expectations met. It may not sound like much of a compliment but Hell, it's better than most can muster. Sure it suffers from that standard catchall where you chuck the villains some Nazi references to make sure nobody can sympathise with them (which actually particularly aggravated me, because the next day they throw you a curve-ball with the leader of the villains by making him actually a three dimensional character, but his gang never amount to more than utterly moronic skinheads-come-punks), but I found its merits outweighed its downfalls.
It was one of Michael J. Fox's first roles (simply "Michael Fox" at the time) and I'm told presents a vision of Detroit, L.A and Chicago schools that is horrifically accurate to this day (having never seen them myself, I can neither confirm nor deny this). Doesn't matter, because what's important is that this dated piece does hold up to this days gauge for entertainment-value. Or at least it does mine.
An 80's sleaze picture with more brains and decent acting than usual with these movies. A main draw to this now is to see Michael (no J at this point) Fox in an early role in which he does have quite a bit of screen time, and looks very young, particularly compared to his school mates, and it is no wonder why he played a 17 year old whilst in his twenties for his most famous role yet to come. The movie still is somewhat shocking, mainly because metal detectors in schools and the like have now become widespread in certain parts of the world, which is a little sad. The flick really is more of a drama than anything else so don't expect too much horror (although the wood work room death is a grisly highlight) or action for that matter, and for that much alone it's still worth tracking down, and even if the opening and closing theme song from Alice Cooper is pretty awful, and overall the movie is far from great. But it's still worth a look mainly for fans of these hard-edged 80's films, or those that want to see Fox in an early gritty move before he became a world wide star.