January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Watching the movie 187 (pronounced “One-eight-seven”) is a bit confusing. The director, Kevin Reynolds directed a favorite of mine, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Now comparing Robin Hood to 187 is like comparing Reservoir Dogs to the Wizard of Oz! I found it a bit disturbing as to what the movie was trying to say. It seems like the movie was half Stand and Deliver and half Boyz in the Hood…nevertheless here’s a rundown of what to expect…

Samuel L. Jackson delivers a great, if not low-key, performance as Trevor Garfield. Mr. Garfield, as he is mainly referred to thoughout the movie (he’s a teacher, so that makes sense) has moved out to Hollywood after being nearly stabbed to death at an inner-city high school back in Brooklyn. There’s no doubt denying that he has a passion for teaching, and there’s no doubt that the movie keeps trying to shove that down our throats. When a temporary substitute teaching job at a local inner-city Los Angeles school turns into a permanent job, Garfield finds that he has rediscovered his dream of teaching. Of course, there’s trouble makers. Not the Bart Simpson kind, mind you, these kids have guns and are in gangs, rape women and beat their mothers. Not nice guys. Throughout the movie, we’re introduced to two other teachers, one a burnt out “who cares” type (John Heard) who is more interested in his gun collection, and another young woman who is being stalked by the class hoodlums.

Throughout all of this, Garfield is trying to get these kids to learn science (he’s a science teacher). This is where the story never really develops, it tends to focus on the struggle between Garfield and his morals dealing with the bad kids. Now to tell much more would be to give away the plot, let’s just say that it’s a very strange ending, and one that I didn’t expect. 187 is a tough movie to watch, along the lines of 8MM. Give it a try if you’re so inclined, as it’s good to see a more reserved Samuel L. Jackson instead of the bible quoting thug from Pulp Fiction.

Video: How does it look?

Almost a perfect picture from Warner Brothers. I saw a few scenes that had a bit of artifacting, but overall it just doesn’t get much better. The anamorphic 1.85:1 picture is framed nicely and lots of shots of Hollywood and the inside of schools look better than ever. Compared to the LD and VHS release—there is no comparison. Excellent.

Audio: How does it sound?

187 has a nice soundtrack, full of gangster style music which, in turn let’s your speakers do their thing. Dialogue is nice and centered, surround effects are present occasionally and it’s overall a nice mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The usual Warner slate with a very interesting commentary by director, Kevin Reynolds and actors Samuel L. Jackson and Clifton Gonzalez-Gonzalez (no, that’s no typo). If you’re a fan of the movie, then I see no reason no to pick up this disc. The commentary is nice and intersting, but the movie itself just wasn’t for me.

Disc Scores