If nothing else, "The Substitute" is aptly titled. It feels just like the kind of movie you would expect a theater to show after the real film had stuck in the projector and burned to a crisp. It's kind of Hollywood's way of saying, "We're sorry. We originally wanted to show you something else, but we found this in a closet and we hope it will do. Thanks for the $7.50."
The premise of the movie is that a mercenary named Slade (Tom Berenger) takes a job as a substitute teacher (doesn't anyone do background checks on these people?) and brings down a city-wide drug ring. The school, which is in Miami, is your typical Hollywood high school: full of minorities who lack discipline, do drugs, use foul language and are just waiting for a white mercenary to teach them how to behave.
Mercenary or no mercenary, these drug dealers are about the most uncreative bunch of killers you're ever likely to see. Even though they know Slade is wearing a bullet-proof vest they keep shooting him in the chest. This immediately turns the film into a farce. Suddenly, the viewer no longer sees a credible character saying "Kill him," but sees an actor saying "Sorry, viewer, but I have to shoot Slade in the chest again because it's only forty minutes into the movie, and we're already out of plot. Thanks for the $7.50."
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