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The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All (1999)

At a college visit to a war buddy's professor daughter, mercenary Treat Williams finds her brutally beaten. He then poses as a teacher to teach a lesson to the football jocks responsible.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Jensen ...
Macy
Barbara Jane Reams ...
Albanian Girl
...
Soldier #1
Jeff Jensen ...
Soldier #2
...
Prof. Nicole Stewart
...
Terri
Michael Shane Davis ...
Josh Silver
...
...
Rahmel
Ed Cameron ...
Bo Robinson
...
Thad
...
Muscle
...
Counterman
Scott Wilkinson ...
Head Coach Bill Braden
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Storyline

Professional mercenary Karl Thomasson, his friend Macy, and an albanian girl are being held in a brutal Kosovo prison where Macy is severely beaten. Just before he dies, Macy gives Karl a medal to give to Macy's daughter Nicole Stewart, who is a professor of english at Eastern Atlantic University on Long Island in New York. Karl and the Albanian girl then escape, and Karl kills their two captors. Three months later, Karl shows up at the university and visits Nicole, who is reluctant to accept Macy's medal because due to his military obligations, Macy was out of Nicole's life more than he was in it. Soon after Karl visits Nicole, she is brutally beaten up. When Karl hears of this, he has his friends Ed Lincoln and Rahmel help him take over as Nicole's substitute under a false name, then Karl brings another mercenary friend named Andy in on the investigation of the beating so Andy can work with Karl, Ed, and Rahmel. Karl believes it was a member of the football team who did it then he ... Written by Todd Baldridge <sandib@mis.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexuality, | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

14 August 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A félelmek iskolája 3: Dupla vagy semmi  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is set in Long Island but was shot in Salt Lake City so the director had to make sure that no mountains appeared in any shot. See more »

Goofs

A bad guy gets his arm cut off. By the look of the arm, the arm is severed below the shoulder but when we see the guy, it appears that the cut was made at the shoulder. (And it is obvious that his arm tucked into his shirt.) See more »

Quotes

Karl Thomasson: Maybe you didn't notice but those guys were completely wired. Maybe it was coke, maybe it was steroids, but they were totally out of control. Why don't you let me deal with them?
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Connections

Follows The Substitute 2: School's Out (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant! The best Substitute-film yet!
1 March 2000 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

I've seen hundreds of these actioners and while they may all seem the same, I still love them more than anything. I don't look for a smart and original script, good acting or "a deep and emotional story that needs to be told". In fact, those are the things I _don't_ want in an action-film. What I look for is gratuitous violence with a little gratuitous nudity thrown in. I look for a good, strong hero who's goal is to make things right by any means necessary.

I was a fan of the first Substitute-film. Tom Berenger was a good hero, the story moved fast enough, the action-scenes were good and the music score was excellent. However, I was slightly disappointed with the second film. While Treat Williams might be a reasonably good actor, I didn't think he was a very good action hero. He looked kinda goofy with a gun. Also, the action-scenes were quite poor and the level of violence was surprisingly low. The music score wasn't good either.

Treat Williams is again the hero in The Substitute 3 so my expectations were a little low. However, I loved director Robert Radler's earlier work (especially Best of the Best 2) so of course I had to see it. And I'm happy to say that this film rocked! I think this is the best Substitute-film yet.

The Substitute 3 was filmed in just 16 days and the budget was probably quite modest. Still, this looks like a surprisingly big film. The technical details are excellent, the camera keeps moving and the editing is done very well. I also liked the score a lot.

Treat Williams still looks goofy with a gun but this time he's quite competent in the martial arts-fights. The fights are choreographed with skill and are really fun to watch. I liked the supporting characters. James Black as the sidekick with a sword could have a bright future in action-films, Claudia Christian looked good and handled her own action-scenes well and the fat surveillance guy had some good lines.

And speaking of dialogue, I liked the writing of this film. There's a relaxed atmosphere and Williams' oneliners work well. The only significant flaw with the film was that unlike the first film, this doesn't have a strong villain. Fortunately there's still a good, big action-scene in the end.

So, The Substitute 3 doesn't offer anything new (and thankfully it doesn't even try) but what it does, it does very, very well. It's of course apparent that this film isn't everyone's cup of tea. It doesn't give you anything to think about and it can be summarised as cardboard characters fighting each other. But then again, that's my precise definition of good entertainment, so this one gets a full 10. See it if you are a fan of the genre and like mindless violence. But if you didn't fall asleep during The English Patient or Shakespeare In Love and didn't like the first two Substitute-films, this one isn't worth watching either.


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