Gridiron Gang begins with an upsetting truth about America’s urban youth: 75 percent of adolescent inmates will either end up in jail again or encounter a tragic and early demise in the gang-ridden neighborhoods they grew up.
The film is a true story that stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Sean Porter, a probation officer at a detention camp in Los Angeles. Porter is determined to help the juvenile inmates turn their lives around at Camp Kilpatrick. With the help of his colleague Michael Moore, played by rapper-turned actor Xzibit, Porter puts together a football team comprised of the high school-age inmates from the ghettos of South Central L.A.
With their careers on the line, Porter and Moore put their faith in the success of the “Mustangs.” They acquire uniforms and equipment and schedule games against the top high school teams in the surrounding area. Predictably, Porter and Moore overcome the obstacles they face, including criticism from their superiors, callous remarks from players and a series of prejudiced and brutal adversaries. The film culminates in the championship game in which they face a team known for racial slurs and unfair play.
Although this movie is based on a true story, its message is hardly original. It conveys the all too familiar idea that given a second chance and the right guidance, anyone can succeed. However, due to stronger than expected performances from “The Rock” and Xzibit, Gridiron Gang proves to be entertaining and heart-warming, despite a rather unoriginal premise.