Detention (2003)

Dolph Lundgren, Alex Karzis, Kata Dobó, Corey Sevier,
Detention is a movie starring Dolph Lundgren, Alex Karzis, and Kata Dobó. A heroic high school teacher leads a band of students trapped in school by violent drug-runners.
  • 4.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Paul Lynch, John Sheppard, Writer:
  • Sidney J. Furie, Director:
  • Gary Howsam, Producer:
7 / 10

Great Action Trash

Detention is like a cross between "The Breakfast Club" and "Die Hard", only without the character development of the former or the special effects budget of the latter. The result is surprisingly entertaining and often wonderfully tasteless. In short, Detention is one of the better lightweight action movies to hit video shelves in some time.

Dolph Lundgren has spent the past few years mainly appearing in relatively gritty low budget action films like his directorial debut "The Defender" and its follow up, "The Mechanik". While I enjoyed both of those films, it comes as a nice surprise to see Dolph appear in something as stupidly entertaining as Detention. Make no mistake about it - this film is dumb in a very big way. You could get a bad case of RSI from writing down all the goofs and plot holes. However, what it lacks in credibility, the film more than makes up for in enthusiasm and an almost 1980s approach to action. There are very few dull computer effects here, just a lot of old fashion shootings and a couple of decent explosions.

The story involves Dolph's character, Sam, struggling with his disillusionment as a teacher at an inner city high school. Sam decides to resign but is asked to supervise detention on his last day. Unfortunately for Sam, he finds himself locked in the school building with a bunch of his delinquent students and an incredibly camp and violent crime boss called Chester. Conveniently, Sam is an ex-soldier and he calls on his military training to fight the intruders. The story is as clichéd and derivative as it sounds. Nevertheless, it allows Dolph to flex his action hero muscles and provides plenty of opportunities for senseless violence.

Detention benefits greatly from an undercurrent of black humour and a touch of irony. The characters are all pretty amusing, from the crack smoking, foul mouthed students, to Chester and his woeful to the point of being funny one-liners. The film also contains one of the funniest and most ridiculous chase scenes ever captured on film when one of the bad guys chases a wheelchair bound student (Dov Tiefenbach in another interesting role) on a motorbike. Sam's ability to turn a trolley into a metal covered battering ram, complete with metallic spikes, in a matter of minutes is similarly mind boggling.

The special effects are generally pretty basic but there is enough blood and shooting to keep action fans happy. Sidney J. Furie's direction is lively and he keeps the pace mercifully brisk. Sidney has been making genre films since the 1960s and he's still churning out good work. Detention is not a great film and it never pretends to be one. It is, however, 90 minutes of hugely enjoyable, dumb fun. If nothing else, watch it for the wheelchair chase sequence.

5 / 10

A brain dead action romp

To most, Dolph Lundgren isn't the best of movie performance material. It also doesn't help when a fairly well known actor goes into hiding by making hit or miss films because of outside problems. What's odd though, is that Dolph Lundgren hasn't had any publicity issues. And if he has, it's been well covered up because there have been no reports about it. You would think that after making popular films like Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) and Universal Soldier (1992), he would have continued to make big hit screen movies like his other muscle counterparts. Instead Lundgren went into an almost two decade absence on the big screen.

So, because this movie was released in 2003, this is half way through his absence. At this point he was making Direct-to-Video films and Detention (2003) is one of these. Problem is, it didn't do anything for me. Even worse is that the title only exists because of the setting that its in. The story is about a group of criminals who break into a school to get a vanload of cocaine out of the country. And the only man that will get in their way is a gym/history teacher who's holding a detention after school. His name is Sam Decker (Dolph Lundgren).

This already doesn't sound very promising. Here's what works, which isn't all too much. If you (the viewer) want to see Dolph Lundgren play a role that is in his genre but dressed like he's going to work at a cubical, this is it. It's very interesting to see Lundgren be a character without armor and big weapons. Another notable part of this movie is the supporting cast. Even though they aren't memorable characters, they do carry some charm because of how various individuals act in different situations.

One actor who I found to be putting a lot of effort to make his character stand out was Alex Karzis as the main villain. A lot of the time Karzis would make strange gestures, faces or remarks that made me look at the screen and say (while chuckling) - "What was the point of that?" But hey, it kept my attention. The only other piece that worked in this movie was the music by Amin Bhatia. But even that I don't favor all too much because there was no theme, even if the music sounded average. It did lose me now and then so ehhh.

Now to the bad. In all honesty, there was a very thin story. The premise is just a setup for Dolph Lundgren to go jumping through windows and shooting handguns. There is a little bit of a flash back that involves post traumatic stress but is only to be given away one more time for a brief moment to reveal a connection. What's even weirder is that even when this movie doesn't have much of a story to go by, it manages to drag itself at various intervals. Which brings me to the last point, the action was very sporadic. It really wasn't present all too much. It felt very diluted, which I think is rare for a Dolph Lundgren movie.

I'm also going to guess that the direction to this movie wasn't great since it was headed by Sidney J. Furie, the director of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). It's hard to say. I was on the fence for this one. It doesn't please me like most of Lundgren's movies but it doesn't disappoint that badly either. I hope I don't run into anymore Lundgren movies like this.

It offers a few interesting concepts but its concentration is lacking. Its cast also tries to show some charm but its script and minimal action provide little to work with.

6 / 10

Not bad, in fact... The venue was exploited well

I mean the school premises and its different rooms like chemistry class, assembly room, long passageways... And selection of actors was better than in most low-budget action movies - apart from Dolph Lundgren, there were some other outstanding personalities (Alex Karzis, Kata Dobo).

In spite of constant gunshots-bursts that almost never hit, and neurotic activities, the scenes began to develop and make sense as the movie went on. And the good ones had their tragic as well. Thus, as a whole, Detention-movie was not totally blunt and predictable, although several actions lacked logic and looked ridiculous (not Lundgren-related, however). But if you have 1,5 hours to kill and not fond of flaking out in front of screen, then this movie is just OK. Not a profound experience, but a kind of violent entertainment.

8 / 10

It is certainly a cool fun movie.

I just viewed Detention last night and i liked what i saw. It was a cool fun movie.Dolph looked superbly cool on the Bike.He also looked good in this movie as compared to his other recent movies.He is now in a pretty good shape.The story was ok and the other actors were also passable.I wouldn't call this movie his best but its still a good movie.

But it also had its share of Problems. The first one was the way bullets were flying everywhere and even when they were being fired at point blank range they missed the target.They should've had shown the ppl escaping the bullets in a better way. Another problem which i had was the way the students were swearing. I dont know in which school the students can swear in front of their teacher and even in the classroom. The third problem was that the bad guys were very few in numbers. There should've been more bad guys. Last problem was definately the fact that the set looked cheesy , but that was due to the small budget. Overall the movie was a good Movie.I enjoyed it.I would recommend others to watch it. P.S. Now u r a DEAD beat cop. (Some One-liners were also cool)

4 / 10

My oh my...


You know it is never a good sign when you can honestly say the best actor in the movie is Dolph Lundgren.

This film is bad... the story is nothing new. The acting was terrible. and there were so many things in this film that were so pathetic is was unbelievable. I mean, the bad guys looked like they belonged in Layztown. They could not shoot a non moving target, let alone students running away from them.

There was one scene where it felt like the A-Team. The students were hiding out in the Gym at their school, but in the gym just so happened to be an archery set all ready for them.

I still don't fully understand why the bad guys were in the school in the first place.

Honestly, this is a really bad B movie... funny in places, but not for the right reasons.

I will give this film 4 out of 10.

Dolph is lucky Stallone even called him for the Expendables after this film.

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