The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not an Option (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not an Option (2001)

The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not an Option (2001)




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Movie Info

In the fourth film of the franchise begun with The Substitute, Karl Thomasson (Treat Williams), a former mercenary turned private detective, is once again assigned to go undercover as a substitute teacher, this time to combat a group of neo-Nazis attempting to recruit the student body of an exclusive private military academy. Angie Everhart, Scott Miles, and Tim Abell highlight the supporting cast.
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Europa Filmes

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Tim Abell
as Devlin
Scott Miles
as Buckner
Bill Nunn
as Luther
Patrick Kilpatrick
as Commandant Brack
J. Don Ferguson
as General Teague
Grayson Fricke
as Ted Teague
Lori Beth Edgman
as Cunningham
K.C. Powe
as Slimy
Laura Shay
as Griffin Dixie
Treat Williams
as Karl Thomasson
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not an Option

All Critics (6)

Definitely worth a rental if you're in the mood for some decent hand-to-hand combat...

Full Review… | November 9, 2002
Reel Film Reviews

Everhart is admirably uninhibited about taking her shirt off yet unintentionally disquieting in not only her stunningly wooden elocution, but the dimensions of her cranium

Full Review… | October 28, 2001
Film Freak Central

wholly ridiculous, and its silly tagline invites far too many obvious jokes at its expense

April 8, 2001

Audience Reviews for The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not an Option

First, allow me to say I am a big Treat Williams fan and I did like the Substitute film series. However, this film should have never been made. The first one borders on the cult classic level, the second one rode the wave of success but was not as good as the first, and the third one reached way too much. This fourth version was just not good at all. Sure, it helped that Williams played the role of Karl Thomasson well and this did not cost too much money to produce, but give me a break. The only good thing about this film was the taking down of Neo-Nazi skinheads and Angie Everhart, although I have never seen any teacher look like her before. Not very good but fast paced, which is one of the few things good with this film.

Christopher Staaf
Christopher Staaf

The Substitute franchise finally comes to a close and who would of thought it would make it four entries? I can see one, maybe two but four? I knew the series was doomed to end when I saw this DVD as a new release at our local blockbuster and they only carried one copy. One copy! They carried at least four of Substitute 3. Artisan Entertainment itself seemed to be embarrassed they made four entries and they removed the number "4" on the original DVD box art making the title "The Substitute: Failure is Not an Option." Also what's with the subtitle? Actually all the subtitles in the Substitute franchise sound like taglines as opposed to titles: School's Out, Winner Takes All, Failure is Not an Option... Okay enough of me going off about how long the franchise went and the silly subtitles, lets dig into the plot of Substitute 4. Treat Williams returns for a third time as the mercenary Karl Thomasson. This time he is hired by a prestigious retired soldier to go undercover as a history teacher into a military school to discover why his son has changed for the worse. It seems the school is run by a white supremist (Patrick Kilpatrick, my favorite killer cyborg teacher from Class of 1999) who is recruiting young skinheads in order to do terrorist activities. The writers again try to breathe new life into the overlong franchise by switching the environment yet again this time to a military school, further distancing the film from its origin about the problem with gangs in urban environments. The problem with moving the setting to a military school is that Treat Williams' character is more in his element and less like a fish out of water which the substitute were in the previous films. Since he is a military character the audience feels that his character isn't as in much danger since he is in an environment he is use to. The look of this film has the same cheap look of the last entry no doubt to another low budget and the same director returning from part 3. The action is rather low key and the special effects are embarrassing (the exploding building brought a tear to my eye). Other than Williams and KilPatrick, the rest of the cast is again stock direct-to-video fodder that just do good enough to get the film by. This is easily the least of the Substitute franchise but one could do worse to kill and hour-and-a-half. Treat Williams still has enough charm left in him to keep people from turning the film off but unless you're a diehard fan of the franchise I would recommend finding some action kicks someplace else. The substitute finally retired after this entry and it was due time as the franchise did overstay it's welcome by a hair.

Eric Reifschneider
Eric Reifschneider

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