Class of 1984 (1982) 3.36/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 70.3
Genre: Crime, Action
Duration: 98 mins
Director: Mark L. Lester
Stars: Perry King, Merrie Lynn Ross, Timothy Van Patten

Perry King stars as a school teacher who finds his new school much more than he bargained for when the worst of its teenage gangs begins a vendetta against him led by their magnetic and viscous leader (Timothy Van Patten). Class of 1984 was made in 1982 so technically the events take place in the future but this isn’t really a science fiction film. It strikes a similar vibe to Walter Hill’s The Warriors by colourfully playing with the possibilities of where the gang culture of the early 80’s was heading. That said, Class of 1984 is far more extreme in where it takes those predictions (with stark echoes of A Clockwork Orange) as it gleefully dives head first into exploitation cinema and does a decent job too.

Writer Tom Holland (the man behind Fright Night) and director Mark Lester (him behind Commando) could’ve easily turned this into a farce but behind all its 1980’s glossy future-punk, this is an intense watch. Similarly, the dialogue is quite low key but there’s an uncomfortable desolation to it and when spat from the mouths of the well drawn punk kids, it becomes wonderfully acidic. Van Patten is tremendous as the deranged and dangerous Stegman who surely must go down as one of the great movie villains, rated or under-rated. Moreover, his posse aren’t just the usual faceless henchmen as they are each nicely developed and mutually complementing in their individual thuggery. King too is very watchable as he follows the Gregory Peck school of acting, portraying the man who finds his strength in his morals. He is also supported well by Roddy McDowall’s delicious turn as his world-weary colleague.

Ultimately, despite its obvious similarity to aforementioned classics, Holland and Lester had their own idea about this movie and they went with it. Yes, much of it comes across as pure 80’s cheese but it’s undeniably a unique movie which plays ferociously on sensationalist themes. In other words, it’s a fine exploitation flick!

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