Sasha Mitchell plays a villain, or rather, the latest android teacher in this sequel to the 1989 cult hit.
John Bolen is a substitute teacher who is actually an android, a recently discovered model of the A77 Battledroid prototypes created by Dr. Bob Forrest in 1999. When John fights off a group of punks who are skipping class, the punks’ attempt at retaliation fails when they shoot him and he doesn’t feel a thing. He proceeds to place a grenade in the car, causing the punks to die.
John has moved to another school, where he discovers that local teacher Jenna McKensie is being harassed by local thug Sanders, who has been suspended from school. Jenna witnessed Sanders shooting another student and plans to testify against him, thus the reason for his harassment. She has been warned by her boyfriend, military expert Emmett, and the high school principal not to testify, but she won’t budge. When Sanders sends in his henchman Ice on two occasions to continue, John is there both times to save her. The two strike up respect for each other, but on the weekend where Emmett plans a paintball game, John intends to turn the game into his own personal war zone. What he doesn’t discover is that someone has been tracking him down all along.
A more appropriate title would be Class of 2001: The Substitute as it is revealed the film does take place two years after the first film’s events. This is revealed in the recorded testimony of ex-Federal agent Ash, played by former Deathstalker star Rick Hill. Ash is an enigmatic figure who knows of the work of Dr. Forrest, as seen in flashbacks from the original film. While the producers ultimately decided to call this Class of 1999 Part II is beyond me, but it’s clear this takes place in 2001 (or an alternate 2001).
When this film came out, everyone got used to seeing Sasha Mitchell play the hero in three sequel to the 1989 classic Kickboxer as well as showcasing his comedy skills as Cody on the popular sitcom Step by Step. Here, he plays the lead role, who just happens to be the villain. Quite frankly, he is quite convincing here, as John seems to know a lot about the military and uses that knowledge to his advantage when it comes to doing what he is assigned to do: kill the enemy. Mitchell does get to use his martial arts skills in a couple of fight scenes when he’s not trying to somehow help Caitlin Dulany’s teacher. Plus, when he does kill, Mitchell does have the one-liners in the film.
Caitlin Dulany does well as the strong-willed Jenna, who despite warnings and harassment, won’t back down from doing what she feels is right. She may act like a damsel-in-distress at times, but don’t let that fool you as she is truly one tough cookie. Nick Cassavetes, today a film director, plays it well as Jenna’s boyfriend Emmett, who acts like a big shot when it comes to protecting her. Even if she might not need it. One may suspect a love triangle of sorts between Jenna, John, and Emmett, but it’s clear that Jenna and John don’t have that spark and it is more about doing what’s best, or in John’s case, going the extreme. The film does bode from a very shocking twist at the climax, one that just has to be seen and not just read about.
Class of 1999 II: The Substitute is a decently made B-sequel with Sasha Mitchell at his most evil. Gotta love the one-liners he says as this is one teacher you don’t want to mess with. Yet the title doesn’t make too much sense as the film is not set in 1999.
WFG RATING: B-
A CineTel Films production. Director: Spiro Razatos. Producer: Russell Markowitz. Writers: Mark Sevi; based on characters created by C. Courtney Joyner. Cinematography: Dean Lent. Editing: David Kern
Cast: Sasha Mitchell, Caitlin Dulany, Nick Cassavetes, Gregory West, Rick Hill, Jack Knight, Diego Serrano, Bernie Pock, Denney Pierce.