CLASS OF 1999
Release Date: May 11, 1990
Runtime: 98 minutes
Distributor: Taurus Entertainment
Director: Mark Lester
Producer: Mark Lester
Writer: C. Courtney Joyner
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With gangs roaming and torching the city unhindered by the police, no one is safe. Into this milieu comes the film's protagonist, Cody Culp, a just-released parolee from jail. The main conditions of his freedom are that he stay away from gangs and violent behavior. On his first day back to school at Kennedy High, further complications arise for Cody when he finds himself attracted to the principal's daughter.
Principal Miles Langford's interest in controlling student violence leads him into a dangerous alliance with Department of Education Defense chief, Bob Forrest, who introduces the principal to three new teachers. Untested in the classroom, these "teachers" have plenty of experience in combat. They are military-programmed androids, readjusted to teach, to give guidance and, if necessary, to take the appropriate tactical action when disturbances occur.
For instance, before engaging in an action, the robot's mental computer flashes "educate or discipline." The experiment with the peace-keeping robots doesn't work as planned, since, when their task becomes distorted, they begin killing students.
Educate... or discipline? According to the film's director, Mark Lester, "That's really the choice of direction that our educational system is facing today. How do we reconcile the concepts of discipline and education?"
Mr. Lester's statement highlights the confusion present in the liberal community today -- a confusion which springs forth from fifty years of undisciplined education. Discipline simply means to disciple, and discipling is an integral part of education which literally means to lead out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of the Truth which sets men free. Discipline, hard work, study, memorization, practice, analysis, debate, creativity -- all these and much more form the solid basis of education. To spare the rod in this process is to spoil the child. An FBI report notes that over 90% of the criminals on death row were never disciplined by their parents -- abused, perhaps, but not disciplined. Students need to be discipled, and the nature of the discipline depends on the individual student.
This is not the place to go into a lengthy discourse on education, but the idea that education and discipline are mutually exclusive is both absurd and destructive of the fabric of our society. Mr. Lester's perspective is the problem. The solution is reviving classical education to lead the students of today out of the ignorance of loony liberalism into the light of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. As Theodore Roosevelt so aptly stated:
"To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a danger to society."
To make its point that something needs to be done, the film greatly exaggerates and magnifies what already exists in places like Los Angeles or New York City. Thus, the film goes beyond a cautionary message to something that, though conceived in fantasy, is more representative of mid-America's current nightmare.
Technically, the film has an interesting blend of mechanics and make-up that create a very surreal look, laying simulated human textures and musculature over a military surplus frame. Regarding content, the film is awash in sickening and blood-gushing scenes. The violence is gratuitous and excessive, and the language obscene. This is one class you'll want to skip.
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