The Gridiron Gang review

“Are you ready to accept the Mustang challenge?” asks pumped-up probation officer Sean Porter (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) to the juvie chain-gangers in his care. The challenge in question involves a makeshift football squad he hopes will stop them re-offending the moment they’re released. But given the whiff of latent homoeroticism emanating from Phil Joanou’s sports flick, you’d be forgiven for thinking he has something else in mind...

For the most part, though, this fictionalised version of an Emmy-winning 1993 documentary follows an all-too-familiar playbook, its unruly ensemble of hostile delinquents predictably morphing into a tight-knit unit under The Rock’s tough-but-fair tuition. Footage of the real Porter played over the end credits rams home the film’s inspirational message. Alas, by then, his oft-repeated mantra – “You’ve got to be shitting me!” – has proved hilariously appropriate.

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