Plot: A teacher is gunned down in broad daylight, in the middle of the street and no one seems to have any answers. Karl Thomasson (Treat Williams) was the murdered man’s brother and while the two had a rocky relationship, Karl is determined to uncover the truth about the incident. He quickly learns that a gang known as The Brotherhood run an elaborate car theft ring in the area. This operation seems to be heavily tied to the local school, which is where Karl’s brother was a teacher. Now Karl has taken over the class and with the help of his past as a mercenary, he is able to fend off the local thugs and see that the high school students are involved in the Brotherhood’s business. The more he presses, the more resistance and violence he encounters. But with the help of an old friend and the school janitor, Karl is certain he has find out the truth. But can a few veterans fight off a powerful gang and their mysterious leader?
Entertainment Value: The Substitute 2 doesn’t do much to build on the original, instead it is more of a retooling. Treat Williams steps in to replace Tom Berenger, but the story and how it unfolds is pretty familiar ground. I don’t see that as a bad thing however, as the series is about an undercover teacher gone vigilante, so there’s not always a lot of room to negotiate there. This sequel might follow the steps of the original closely, but it does so in an entertaining fashion. Williams is solid as the teacher, bringing a kind of zen vibe to the role. He is much calmer and collected than Berenger’s more direct and violent role, which helps the movie separate itself. Just a trio of mercenaries in this one, including the crazy janitor, but they still take on a full gang’s worth of thugs. A few minor attempts at social commentary are here, but the film knows it is B action and doesn’t shoehorn in that stuff too much. So if you like vigilante teacher movies and don’t need a unique take on the genre, The Substitute 2 is solid fun.
No nudity, even though Treat was in Hair, right? As far as blood, we have numerous gun wounds that splat nicely and some blood from brawls. The squibs pop well in this one, with a nice payout that gushes well. The final fisticuffs showdown is a lot of fun, with a lightbulb to the eye being a highlight and of course, coughing up blood. So for a made for television B action movie, more red stuff than you might expect. The dialogue isn’t as memorable as the original, due to Treat being more of a calculating guy than the skilled thug Berenger brought to the series. The crazy janitor has some good lines though and Treat does offer a few nice one liners. As far as craziness, we do see Treat use a yo-yo as a weapon, throw a boombox out the window, and pass off hand soap as a deadly chemical, but the movie’s pretty grounded.
Overall Insanity: 1/10