The Substitute: Failure Is Not an Option (2001)

R  |  Video  |   |  Action, Drama  |  24 April 2001 (USA)
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An undercover policeman must infiltrate a military school's faculty to cease the actions of white supremacists.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Grayson Fricke ...
Ted Teague
Scott Thomas ...
Buckner (as Scott Miles)
Samantha Thomas ...
Mauk (as Michael Weatherly)
Cunningham (as Lori Beth Edgeman)
Robson (as Mohamed T. El Emam)
J. Don Ferguson ...
Colonel Teague
K.C. Powe ...


A former mercenary joins a military academy as a teacher. He soon discovers a neo-Nazi group, code-named Werewolves, formed among the cadets. He also quickly finds that they have military leadership among the officers at the Academy. Written by John Sacksteder <>

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Action | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Release Date:

24 April 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not an Option  »

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Did You Know?


Jenny is the only female love interest in the Substitute films who appears nude. See more »


Karl Thomasson: Jenny, hey.
Jenny: Hey.
Karl Thomasson: I'm sorry.
Jenny: For last night?
Karl Thomasson: Yeah.
Jenny: That's OK, its not the first time someone walked out on me.
Karl Thomasson: Yeah.
Jenny: But usually they walk out after we've had sex.
See more »


Follows The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Just be happy you have the option.
21 May 2003 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

Substitute 4: Failure is not an option.

When an old friend's son cuts off ties with his father to join an elite and viscious unit of a prestigious military college, Karl Thomasson must return to action as the substitute in the fourth installment: Failure is not an option.

Treat Williams returns to the role of Karl Thomasson, the ex- mercenary turned undercover expert in what, in my opinion, is the second best of the long running substitute series. Using the same formula as the rest of the substitute series, Williams goes undercover to track down a friend's son who has stopped any kind of correspondance with his father to join an elite mercenary squad known as the "wolverines" who are led by the sadistic Col. Brack, played by an always intense Patrick Kilpatrick.

Of course as in the other films he needs a team of specialists to help with the investigations. This time the team consists of Luthor (Bill Nunn) and Devlin (Tim Abell). Adding to the cast is Hollywood's sexiest redhead Angie Everheart in the uncertain role of Jenny. Now granted the story is getting old and the producers may want to stop at this one to save any kind of face they have left, but I must admit it's good to see Kilpatrick and Williams still doing movies.

As well, director Radler does what he can with the material he wrote and the budget seems to be better placed then it was in the last two. Yet, as with most low budget movies, the supporting acting and scenery are all too bland, with some of the young actors giving over the top performances and the setting not really ever moving off the campus. The movie is no Taps, but it keeps the excitement going at a reasonable pace but is slowed down by a few hammy speed bumps, as in a scene in which the Wolverines are repeating a four word combination in unison to show how blood thirsty they are.

The ending has a good moral statement, yet it is drug out and very heavy handed. I didn't believe Failure to be a great movie, let's face it, none of them were, but I didn't believe it to be a bad movie either. So if your a fan of low budget action or of the series itself, I'd say go out and check out the Substitute 4 tonight, but to anybody looking for an academy award winner or even a movie that takes itself seriously do yourself a favour and think: Viewing is not an option.

Overall Rating: 5.5 out of 10

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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