Friday, February 18, 2011

In the Parking Lot After School with 3:15(1986)

Whenever a movie has gangs of punk rockers, me taking the time to watch it is a sure thing. Since the first time I first sat down and watched Return of the Living Dead in the 80's, there has always been something about mohawks and chains that will draw me to a movie. Punkers in shitty 80's movies were about as common as the "white kid dance" aka The Molly Ringwald. Most 80's films aimed at teenagers typically had a variation of one or the other, sometimes both. From Valley Girl to Suburbia, no matter how shitty it is, if I see it has punk rockers I will take the time to watch it.

Such is the case with 3:15(1986), a film I ran across about a month back and finally got to sit down and watch. When I first read the description, all I could think of was a cross between Class of 1984 and 3 O'Clock High with roving gangs of punk rockers. I typically think to myself that I've seen enough of these movies in my lifetime to pretty much guess the plot without watching the movie. Even if the acting and plot sucked, at least it had punks and a post-apocalyptic feel. No matter what the outcome I would probably enjoy it.

3:15 is the story of the notorious street gang the Cobras, and the traitor who would fall out of favor with them, Jeff Hannah. After a rival gang member gets brutalized during a turf skirmish, Jeff decides that the thug life is not for him and hangs up his colors forever. The Cobra's president, Cinco, is non too happy about Jeff's decision, and tell's him so.

Fast-forward one year. Jeff has kept to his word and left the gang life behind. These days he is an all-star basketball player with a knack for school work and popular blonde for a girlfriend.Everything in Jeff's life would be Heaven if it wasn't for the huge gang problem the school has. There is not an inch of the school that isn't covered in tags, and the Cobras only reason for attending class is to make dollars through the dealing of drugs, namely marijuana, which according to Principal Horner is "turning students into zombies". So the local law enforcement have been working with Principal Horner to stage middle-of-class raid on the Cobras. During the raid, Cinco manages to elude the cops for a few minutes by running around the school looking for a place to stash his product. The cops are at foot by the time he reaches the locker room, and he needs to make a quick drop, so he passes the stash off to Jeff, who wants nothing to do with it. As Jeff tosses the contraband back in Cinco's face, the fuzz arrive and nab the notorious leader for possession. As he is being carted away by the boys in blue, Cinco is sure to let the school know that Jeff has wronged him, and vengeance will be sought upon his release from the Big House. Before you know it, 3:15 is the new High Noon.

I did derive enjoyment from watching 3:15, but it was a bit more 3 O'Clock High Than Class of 1984. The latter being more of what the director was aiming for. There were punkers, but there was nothing post-apocalyptic or gangster about them. Most of the mohawks were seen at a local hang-out, not in the Cobras. Slightly disappointing, but ever so slight. Even though the flick lacked terminator teachers and futuristic drug addiction, there was more switchblade action than a room full of greasers. In fact, any sort of violence in 3:15 usually concerned a switchblade, with the exception of a dinky, little .22 that Cinco used to regulate towards the end of the film. Since the fight choreography was so bad, I wouldn't have mind seeing a little bit of nunchuck to widen the array of weapons used. Nunchuck action at least would have made the movie slightly more recommendable. Other than that a being second rate Class of 1984 and loading it with switchblades, 3:15 doesn't really have much going for those of you who aren't die hard about there cinematic trash. Unless of course an early cameo by Gina Gershon as a Cobrette floats your boat, which it might.

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