With so many films feeling the box-office need to follow the formulaic sports film ala SIMPSON/BRUCKHEIMER, it's refreshing to find any sport film that's tolerable while seeking to "inspire". "GRIDIRON GANG", while flawed, is still much better than its theatrical trailer would lead many to expect. Based on a true story, "GRIDIRON GANG" focuses on Sean Porter, a counselor working at a youth detention center who believes that a football program might teach and instill values in the troubled youth there, so lacking in their lives, and a main reason they're there in the first place. There are plenty of moments mean to inspire that have been telegraphed long before, but the film works! A large reason for its success is Dwayne Johnson in the lead role. Having not been a fan of "THE SCORPION KING", "THE RUNDOWN" and his previous wrestling career, this reviewer was caught off guard by how good he is in this role. He's the most believable thing in the film and it never feels like he's acting. He's really that good!
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/MPEG-2 transfer. It's a terrific transfer. While not up there in the league of "TEARS OF THE SUN" or "THE COVENANT", it's still pretty darned impressive! Colors are well saturated and the tint is nearly flawless in every single scene. While there's some grain present throughout the film, it's never intrusive. The detail is outstanding throughout, often providing a "WOW" effect for the viewer!
SONY has provided a PCM 5.1 mix. This mix is terrific! It's an aggressive mix, offering continuous effects that impact scene after scene. While virtually every sport film out there tries to use sound editing to heighten the atmosphere of a real football game, few make it feel as involving as the mix for "GRIDIRON GANG" manages to achieve here. There are plenty of discrete effects throughout the film and dialogue, while well balanced for the most part, tends to get overshadowed during game sequences. There are plenty of bass effects to for those wanting to showcase their subwoofer.
SONY has provided extensive extras for this release. A commentary with underrated director, Phil Joanou, and the screenwriter, offers plenty of insight into the film's production. It's great for aspiring filmmakers, but general fans of the film will probably be bored by its technical focus.
Three of the better featurettes we've seen for a film in the past year are included here, as well as 15 deleted scenes. The deleted scenes are actually presented in full 1080p!