This name-only sequel has nothing in common with its 1996 predecessor other than the idea of a mercenary working undercover as a teacher in a tough high school. And the story worked much better the first time around.
Mercenary Carl Thomasson (Treat Williams) returns to Brooklyn when he gets word that his brother Randall was shot to death while trying to prevent a carjacking. Enlisting the help of past associate Joey (Angel David), Carl learns that the thieves were members of the Brotherhood, a gang based at
the high school where Randall taught Special Ed. With the help of his niece Anya (Susan May Pratt) and her teacher Kara (Michael Michele), Carl gets a job (under an alias) as a substitute teacher with the same ghetto hard cases his brother taught.
In between trying to get the attention of his students, romantic encounters with Kara, and dodging attacks by the Brotherhood, Carl learns that the gang has been running a chop shop for stolen cars out of the school's auto shop. He suspects that shop teacher Warren Drummond (B.D. Wong) is behind
the operation. Kara pulls his background file, but Drummond kills her while Carl is on his way over to read it. The file reveals that Drummond was a Marine staff sergeant drummed out of the Corps for black marketeering. While fending off seduction by her boyfriend Danny (Edouardo Ballerini), Anya
discovers that it was he who murdered her father in the carjacking. Carl and Joey head to school for a showdown with Drummond. After a shootout with the Brotherhood, Carl confronts Drummond in front of his class, and in a one-on-one fight using shop tools, Drummond is killed.
Unlike the first SUBSTITUTE, which arguably had a sense of its own ridiculousness, SUBSTITUTE 2 simply is ridiculous. The script is awful, plodding listlessly from plot element to plot element, with dialogue that reads like the scripters' notes for the purpose it is supposed to fill in advancing
the plot. (Needing to set up that Anya knows karate in order that she can use it later to subdue her murderous boyfriend, the script shoehorns a mention of it into a tearful tirade to uncle Carl about how he abandoned his family.) It's never clear whether or not Drummond ordered Randall killed, or
why, or for that matter what white Danny was doing jacking cars with a black gang. And why does Drummond kill Kara for what she knows about him, then leave his file behind for Carl to see? SUBSTITUTE 2 is most of all a waste of the talents of Treat Williams, who manages to retain a screen presence
even in crap like this, and B.D. Wong, whose role as macho Drummond is as far as he could ever want to get from his transvestite in the Broadway version of M. BUTTERFLY. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: This name-only sequel has nothing in common with its 1996 predecessor other than the idea of a mercenary working undercover as a teacher in a tough high school. And the story worked much better the first time around. Mercenary Carl Thomasson (Treat Willia… (more)