Class of 1999 (1990)

Recent teenage parolee Cody Culp returns to his anarchistic futuristic hood to find himself disgusted with his home life, alienated from his former gang(probably to his relief), and threatened by the school’s newest bullies: three robotic teachers, implemented by the government to restore discipline, only consolation being his budding romance with the principal’s daughter–perpetually gorgeous Tracy Lin. As always, whenever players take the material as seriously as these actors do, the potentially mediocre is propelled to a new level. The performance by vastly unappreciated and underused Bradley Gregg rivals that of the more experienced Ryan, Grier, and Kilpatrick(with McDowell typically good, but all too often idle).

I’ve always held that the reason there was and remains so much dissatisfaction with this movie is that too many people watched it with the wrong expectations. Preparing for some silliness and expecting some substandard effects is the starting point with one like this. Reason being: to get past the frequent implausibility is to put yourself in a position to recognize the uniqueness and innovation. Taking the deliberate cheese with a grain of salt, one can appreciate opportunities when it is earnest.

If anything truly hurts this movie, it’s the boring pseudo-military battle scenes. They would have been wise to leave this stuff to the only films suited to do them properly–war films, but instead have introduced out-of-place time wasters in which neither side has evoked any sympathy anyway. That said, Class Of 1999 is still a shoulda-been camp classic not to be missed.