The Substitute 2: School's Out - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Substitute 2: School's Out Reviews

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February 25, 2017
Treat Williams takes over as the titular substitute teacher for Tom Berenger in this enjoyable sequel to the surpassingly good original. The first film is something of a guilty pleasure of mine, with it's odd combination of inner city high school drama (i.e. "Lean on Me" or "Dangerous Minds") and 80s style action films (i.e. Walter Hill or Michael Mann). This film continues that formula without changing much. The only real change seem to be that Williams adds more charm to the new mercenary (who was friends with the Tom Berenger character from the first film) turned substitute teach to root out bad guys for a friend. Also, the film here tells the same story on a much smaller budget. The original film's screenwriters return, Roy Frumkes & Rocco Simonelli, so the film is pretty consistent in tone to the first film, though the inclusion of a custodian who's a Vietnam vet tunnel rat who now crawls through the walls of the school to spy on the drug dealing ways of the students and corrupt school staff may have crossed a line in becoming too silly, but I kind of enjoyed it and it seemed to fit with the gonzo genre mashup. Overall, if you enjoyed the first film, you'll probably enjoy this sequel. BD Wong and Schooly-D also appear in the film.
½ May 9, 2016
Lousy sequel to a lousy movie. I want to say it's a "tough teacher goes into a failing class filled with underprivileged youths" film, but it tries to be action/murder mystery, too. Movie sucks.
December 7, 2012
Could be worth watching. Will find and devour with my eyes!
January 1, 2012
two words Treat Williams
June 21, 2011
This one wasn't bad, but not like the first one...Hate it when they switch people in the lead roles"
April 24, 2011
That is the stupidest plot summary I've ever read.
February 14, 2011
Not nearly as entertaining as the original Substitute. Treat Williams is hardly intimidating compared to Tom Berenger in the original. The fight scenes could have been better planned and subplots seemed to lead to nowhere. Nevertheless, it was somewhat entertaining and your typical "good guys get the bad guys in the end" shoot-it-out kind of movie.
February 5, 2011
Loved this movie too.
November 27, 2010
½ August 15, 2010
I actually found this film to be just as good as the original.
½ July 5, 2010
The murky conclusion of director Steven Pearl's straight-to-video sequel "The Substitute 2: School's Out" undercuts an otherwise okay sequel that goes to enormous ends to establish itself as the follow-up to the Tom Berenger original. Treat Williams plays an entirely different character who knew Shale, and "School's Out" concerns his search for the person who gunned down his brother in cold blood in broad daylight. Williams is suave but decisive as Karl Thomasson who masquerades as the new substitute teacher. B.D. Wong is superb as the slimy villain. The Miami high school in the first film, the school here is a zoo with abrasive students who play their boom boxes in class and tote around deadly weapons like ice picks. Unlike the villains in the predecessor who were trafficking in illegal drugs, the bad guys here are operating a chop shop for stolen cars that nets them a $100-thousand-a-month. Like the original, the most considerate character turns out to be the source of the trouble. During the first three-fourths of "The Substitute 2: School's Out," the scenarists of the first movie--Roy Frumkes, Rocco Simonelli, and Alan Ormsby--establish the reason for the sequel, neatly place the characters in the context of the original, and do a good job of integrating Karl into the action. The action scenes themselves, when Karl has to practice his expertise on the disruptive students as well as the adult villains, are fine, but everything collapses in the last quarter hour when the fatherless daughter discovers who killed her father. The filmmakers never have a confrontation scene between the hero and this villain. Moreover, the disruptive students in the classroom who should go down as hard as their counterparts did in the first movie are never shown receiving their just comeuppance for their crimes. The yo-yo scene where Karl explains the use of a yo-yo as a weapon is well-done as is the 'compromise' scene when he toss Mace's purloined boom box out the second story class room. Presumably, Mace is supposed to be the Jerome character here. The single character who doesn't have a counterpart from the first movie is Michael Michele; she plays a sympathetic school employee, Kara Lavelle, who is attracted to Karl. Initially, she met him at his brother's funeral. Not surprisingly, Karl's niece (Susan May Pratt of "Drive Me Crazy")doesn't trust Karl at first, but she breaks down and gets to like him. The only character here that is truly exceptional is the high school custodian, Johnny Bartee (Daryl Edwards of "Arthur 2: On the Rocks"), who has an unique way of entering and exiting through the tunnels in the walls. He is a former Vietnam soldier who specialized in going into tunnels to flush out the Viet Cong. One of the things that the filmmakers do that looks cool is that the car-jacking gang wears their cotton windbreakers backwards so the hood covers them faces and they have slit eye-holes to see. One of the survivors from the first movie, Joey 6, reappears here but he is played by a different actor.

Incidentally, the synopsis that states that a group of neo-Nazi kids disrupt a military academy is totally wrong. No neo-Nazis appear in "The Substitute 2: School's Out."
½ May 23, 2010
Though I enjoyed The Substitute for what it was, I was still incredibly surprised to see it was followed by a sequel when I visited the local video store. The original just didn't seem like a strong enough story to warrant a sequel, not to mention a franchise. I went into this sequel not expecting much because a) it is direct-to-video and b) Tom Berenger did not return as our main substitute. Despite this I enjoy Treat Williams as an actor (especially in Dead Heat and Deep Rising) so I kept an open mind. All I have to say is for a direct-to-video B-movie sequel I actually had a pretty good time.

Here our film opens with a teacher getting gunned downed down in New York. Move on next to his funeral where our new mercenary Karl Thomasson (played by Treat Williams) meanders in and we find out he was the teacher's brother. He of course tries to make amends with his niece and gets the notion to enroll as the substitute teacher to find his brother's killers with the aid of his buddy Joey 6 (one of the surviving mercenaries from the original) . He in turn uncovers a chop shop operation headed by another teacher and violence ensues.

Like the original there is plenty of violence along with some well placed humor. Thanks to the tongue-in-cheek performance by Williams that I love, he pulls many of these humorous moments off nicely. His lesson on the history of the yo-yo especially got me to smile. Along with the humor Williams also pulls off the physical mercenary part well making him really a perfect fit for the role. He's funny yet he can also be lethal. The supporting cast is also nice considering this is a low-budget film. Perhaps the one role I had trouble accepting is B.D. Wong as the shop teacher. I guess I'm used to him as the homosexual psychologist on the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and I had trouble accepting him in the role of the manly shop teacher. Despite this he is still a good actor.

The connection to the original film is flimsy at best with our only returning character being Joey 6 (now played by Angel David) who tells our new substitute that Jonathan Shale from the original has given up his mercenary ways and has begun to teach. Joey 6 doesn't even seem like the same character and he might as well have been left out of the plot completely. Perhaps the film would have benefited more if Treat Williams played Tom Berenger's brother or just made it a completely different film about another mercenary turned substitute teacher with no connection.

Overall though I had a good time with this sequel as has the same mixture of violence and some sly humor. Credit for this can be given to writers Roy Frumkes and Rocco Simonelli for returning from the original. This sequel, like the original, can be a little preachy at times about how "gangs are bad" but overall this is a descent direct-to-video sequel.

Bonus Rant: The DVD I have from Lionsgate has 4 moments of poor encoding where digital blocks show up. Okay I understand a film called "The Substitute 2: School's Out" isn't going to be high art but COME ON! They also had shoddy encoding on their Knight Moves and Cutthroat Island discs as well. For a big name company they sure do put out some glitchy discs.
½ September 14, 2009
Not too bad for a sequal. Its watchable. Not too realistic, specially coming from NYC.
½ September 17, 2008
Watchable and enjioyable film even though rather predictable storyline.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2008
It's just as good as the original. A riveting, exciting, thrilling and action-packed thriller. A gripping, smart and effective film with an outstanding performance by Treat Williams. Schools out gets an A.
July 10, 2008
Treat Williams picks up where Tom Berenger left off. Did the first one really make enough to necessitate a second? No.
½ May 26, 2008
Review will be written when/if re-watched (Probability: Zero).

First viewing: 18.12.1998
April 10, 2008
This is one of the most ridiculous movies i have ever seen. can't wait to see the sequels.
April 4, 2008
The problem is the failure to bring back Tom Berenger. This film wreaks havoc on one's sense thanks to the smeghead, who is Pearl.
½ January 3, 2008
This is an alright movie has good action and a desent enough storyline and even has a well devloped twist, but some of the movie is kind of hard to believe but over all not a bad movie.
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