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Masterminds (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Thriller, Comedy  |  22 August 1997 (USA)
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Trapped in a school which a gang of criminals has siezed control, a young troublemaker fights a cat and mouse battle from inside.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Miles (as Brad Whitford)
Michael MacRae ...
Earl Pastko ...
Michael David Simms ...
Ferret (as David Paul Grove)
Akiko Morison ...


Oz, a rebellious teenager who just got expelled from his preppy school returns for one final prank. But as he goes to the basement to set things up, he stumbles upon a security consultant, former school employee, that just took the entire school hostage for millions in ransom. Oz must rely on his youth and love for pranks to outwit the devious criminal mastermind. Written by Steve Richer <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The criminal mastermind of the century just met his match...

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence included in a children hostage situation, and for language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 August 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Smart Alec  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,014,606 (USA) (22 August 1997)


$1,890,472 (USA) (5 September 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the sprinklers are going off Ollie turns off the water main and refers to Melvin as "Number One" Pointing to what Patrick Stewart, as Cpt Pacard, called Riker on ST:TNG. See more »


Oz's computer is shown to be downloading at 115200 baud over a dialup modem. Not only is this not possible (dialup topped out at 33.6/56k), but the modem shown is v.23. v.23 modems operate at 1200 baud (1.2k) and were already very outdated by the time of this movie (33.6k) [v.34] was already in wide use. See more »


Maloney: I've got the rear.
Ozzie: Truer words were never spoken
See more »


References Die Hard (1988) See more »


What Do I Have To Do?
Written by Christopher Hall / Jim Sellers / Walter Flakus / Andy Kubiszewski
Performed by Stabbing Westward
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Vincent Kartheiser saves the day
18 December 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

For those like myself who enjoy watching Vincent Kartheiser in MAD MEN (I have just seen Season Six), and think that his waspish character is amusing and chillingly endearing, this archaeological relic of the young Vincent is interesting. Despite his playing a teenaged computer hacker, it was already his seventh film. He is one of those 'boys with a computer in a bedroom' who has trouble with authority and resents his step-mother and step-sister. He has been banned from his expensive private school because of previous bad behaviour, and has now been condemned to attend 'public school' (in America that means the pits, unlike England where it means the most expensive and the word 'public' really means 'private'). But he is ordered to take his obnoxious and taunting younger sister to class in his old school, where they let him in the gates 'only for five minutes'. But the five minutes turns into a desperate adventure. A sleekly confident security expert, played with tremendous flair and bravado by Patrick Stewart, has just installed the new security system at the expensive private school. But he has a dastardly plan. He intends to hold ten children hostage because their fathers are billionaires. He demands $650 million in ransom money from the ten parents. He takes over the school with armed men and seals it off, blowing up police cars and so forth. Vincent is trapped inside, having just been on his way out. So Vincent wages guerrilla war against Stewart and his gang and tries to save the kids and the school. He hacks into their computers and security system, blows things up, electrocutes an armed thug (who mysteriously recovers, having been only incapacitated), floods the drains with the water from the swimming pool, and a entire catalogue of amazing feats. The film is sanitized to make the violence just playful enough to be acceptable to kids watching, and people somehow mysteriously don't really die even when they should. That is the opposite of 'dying for a cause', for here they 'don't die for a cause', namely a certification that can bring in the younger audiences. The film contains elements of comedy and is meant as mere entertainment, not as a grim tale. And in that it succeeds. It is worth watching just for Patrick Stewart's wonderfully comic and sophisticated portrayal of a vain villain struggling against Kartheiser, whom he calls deprecatingly 'Dennis the Menace', and who keeps thwarting Stewart's evil designs at every turn. Kartheiser himself maintains the same intensity that we enjoy so much in MAD MEN. I wonder if in private life he arranges everything he owns (though there seems to be little of that left, for they say he has given away all his possessions) in neat rows and screams in protest if anything is moved. He certainly is one of the more interesting actors of our time.

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