To most, Dolph Lundgren isn't the best of movie performance material. It also doesn't help when a fairly well known actor goes into hiding by making hit or miss films because of outside problems. What's odd though, is that Dolph Lundgren hasn't had any publicity issues. And if he has, it's been well covered up because there have been no reports about it. You would think that after making popular films like Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) and Universal Soldier (1992), he would have continued to make big hit screen movies like his other muscle counterparts. Instead Lundgren went into an almost two decade absence on the big screen.
So, because this movie was released in 2003, this is half way through his absence. At this point he was making Direct-to-Video films and Detention (2003) is one of these. Problem is, it didn't do anything for me. Even worse is that the title only exists because of the setting that its in. The story is about a group of criminals who break into a school to get a vanload of cocaine out of the country. And the only man that will get in their way is a gym/history teacher who's holding a detention after school. His name is Sam Decker (Dolph Lundgren).
This already doesn't sound very promising. Here's what works, which isn't all too much. If you (the viewer) want to see Dolph Lundgren play a role that is in his genre but dressed like he's going to work at a cubical, this is it. It's very interesting to see Lundgren be a character without armor and big weapons. Another notable part of this movie is the supporting cast. Even though they aren't memorable characters, they do carry some charm because of how various individuals act in different situations.
One actor who I found to be putting a lot of effort to make his character stand out was Alex Karzis as the main villain. A lot of the time Karzis would make strange gestures, faces or remarks that made me look at the screen and say (while chuckling) - "What was the point of that?" But hey, it kept my attention. The only other piece that worked in this movie was the music by Amin Bhatia. But even that I don't favor all too much because there was no theme, even if the music sounded average. It did lose me now and then so ehhh.
Now to the bad. In all honesty, there was a very thin story. The premise is just a setup for Dolph Lundgren to go jumping through windows and shooting handguns. There is a little bit of a flash back that involves post traumatic stress but is only to be given away one more time for a brief moment to reveal a connection. What's even weirder is that even when this movie doesn't have much of a story to go by, it manages to drag itself at various intervals. Which brings me to the last point, the action was very sporadic. It really wasn't present all too much. It felt very diluted, which I think is rare for a Dolph Lundgren movie.
I'm also going to guess that the direction to this movie wasn't great since it was headed by Sidney J. Furie, the director of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). It's hard to say. I was on the fence for this one. It doesn't please me like most of Lundgren's movies but it doesn't disappoint that badly either. I hope I don't run into anymore Lundgren movies like this.
It offers a few interesting concepts but its concentration is lacking. Its cast also tries to show some charm but its script and minimal action provide little to work with.