The Principal is a 1987 revenge film directed by Christopher Cain (Young Guns, The Next Karate Kid, Gone Fishin’, & Wheels of Terror). It was written by Frank Deese (Amazing Stories & Josh and S.A.M.). It was produced by Thomas H. Brodek (Kingdom Hospital, Rose Red, Storm of the Century, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, & Transylvania 6-5000). The budget was $11 million & it grossed $19,734,940 at the box office.
Rick Latimer (played by: Jim Belushi from Twin Peaks, Red Heat, K-9, & Thief ) is a high-school teacher with a drinking problem. Spotting his ex-wife Kimberly (played by: Sharon Thomas Cain from Young Guns, Star Trek III, & Wheels of Terror) in a bar one night, Rick gets into a fight with the man she is with. The board of education finds that Rick’s behavior is reflecting poorly on the school district’s image. They unanimously decide to transfer him to another school Brandel High, a crime-ridden & gang-dominated institution. He becomes the new principal there. Believing he can repair his image by cleaning up the school, Rick attempts to have an assembly to declare his intentions. While he’s giving his speech, Victor Duncan (played by: Michael Wright from Sugar Hill, V, Money Talks, & OZ) who is the leader of the main gang in the school instantly insults Rick in front of everyone. It starts a small riot. School head of security Jake (played by: Louis Gossett Jr. from Watchmen, Jaws 3, Toy Soldiers, & Iron Eagle franchise) has to step in to break it up. Most students start to obey Rick’s new rules. Some of the more unruly students become increasingly disruptive including White Zac (played by: J.J. Cohen from Back to the Future trilogy, 976-Evil, Almost Famous, & Valley of the Dolls) who eventually attempts to rape teacher Ms. Orozco (played by: Rae Dawn Chong from Commando, Tales from the Darkside, Fear City, & The Color Purple). Student Arturo (played by: Jacob Vargas from American Me, Get Shorty, Luke Cage, & Death Race) tries to help out. Victor along with his gang including Jojo (played by: Reggie Johnson from Platoon & Private War) declare war on the school & anyone that wants to get in their way. Can Rick save this school from all it’s troubles? Or Will he just be another victim of it????
In the 80’s, they made lots of these action, crime, & revenge hybrid films. The Principal was one of the bigger ones because it was actually backed & produced by a major studio. Jim Belushi plays a teacher that’s down on his luck that gets sent to a bad school after breaking some rules. He gets promoted in a weird way for it but he has to deal with some of the worst kids around to earn it & get his reputation back. Jim Belushi is known for comedy like his late brother but he’s no stranger to the action sub-genre either. This is one of his better roles back in the day & it was nice to see him get a lead character rather than his usual supporting one. Louis Gossett Jr. always delivered in these type of movies & he had great chemistry with Belushi here as the unlikely combo trying to clean up their school that’s went to hell. Michael Wright was a fantastic villain in this. Victor would do anything to keep control of Brandel High. He was a ruthless leader willing to sacrifice it all for his power. I’ve always thought Wright was highly under-rated as an actor, check out Sugar Hill if you have never seen it before. It had a solid supporting cast that includes Rae Dawn Chong, Jacob Vargas, J.J. Cohen, Esai Morales (Titans), & Kelly Jo Minter (A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child). It has a decent amount of action & violence to satisfy any genre fan. No one really talks about this one, I think it’s under appreciated when it comes to features made during the same time. RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Sony! This 1080p (1.85:1) looks great for an older catalog title. This is a massive upgrade compared to all past home video releases. It has two different audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 & French: Dolby Digital Mono on the blu ray. This definitely an improvement from the past & it actually has a nice boost to your home set up. All of the dialogue is very clean, all the action & music are elevated here. It also has English SDH subtitles. The only extra on the disc is the “Theatrical Trailer”. It’s from Sony Pictures made on demand line highlighting some of their back catalog in high definition for the very first time. This release is actually pro pressed. It’s available everywhere right now including MovieZyng.com, CHECK IT OUT!!!!
You can buy it right now @ https://www.moviezyng.com/043396544925.aspx