Only the Strong

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -2 1/2

Students of Lincoln High in Miami, Florida, understand violence. The majority of them belong to a gang. Classes are a joke as the kids ignore their teachers, deface the property and deal drugs openly. One of their alumnae, Louis Stevens (Mark Dacascos), returns to the campus after serving briefly with the Green Berets in South America. Louis convinces Mr. Kerrigan (Geoffrey Lewis), a dedicated but defeated teacher, that through martial arts he can teach self-respect to the hoodlums. Confronted with one stumbling block after another, Louis nevertheless slowly accomplishes his goal. Louis' high school sweetheart, Diana (Stacey Travis), has also come back to Lincoln High as a teacher and supports Louis' efforts. A beautiful blond in the midst of an all black and Latin cast, she even accompanies Louis and his male students on a camping trip. Though laughs are pretty scarce in ONLY THE STRONG, some scenes are so corny they are funny. The most entertaining scenes are those featuring the Latin musical version of kung fu, with many cartwheels, flips, handstands and flying leaps.

ONLY THE STRONG delivers some positive messages. Louis gives hope to a seemingly hopeless group of teenagers. They learn to care about each other and to have fun together. It is troublesome, however, that Louis' approach of fighting violence with fancy footwork and cartwheels only glamorizes a scary situation. Numerous gang fights, bloody beatings, and one-on-one confrontations between Louis and the villainous gang leader dominate the film. In the midst of classes, the high school is set on fire by the outside thugs, and one boy dies. Drug dealing and many obscenities are also included. There is no sexual intercourse or sexually suggestive activity, except for the ringleader demanding that Diana be "given" to him in exchange for calling off a fight. School teacher Diana wears mini skirts and low-necked dresses in a classroom of undisciplined hoodlums. Louis lets her sleep on the bus with the male students while he takes his gear down to the beach. Targeted for teenagers, ONLY THE STRONG focuses on real problems, but offers unrealistic solutions.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
20th Century Fox, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 4; Moderate 8

Obscene Language: Many (19) times (s-word 16; other 3)

Profanity: Few times - Exclamatory 2

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (gang wars; beatings; threats with knives, clubs; property destruction, school set fire)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None, but teacher wears suggestive clothing

Drugs: Few times (drug paraphernalia shown, use implied; teacher shown once drinking whiskey between classes)

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience:

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