Director: Marcos Siega | 95 minutes | action, drama, comedy, crime, thriller | Actors: Nick Cannon, Cheech Marin, Shawn Ashmore, Roselyn Sanchez, Kelly Hu, Ian Gomez, Hugh Bonneville, Angelo Spizzirri, Johnny Lewis, Peter Bryant, Adrian Young
Actor Nick Cannon made his impressive debut in the movie ‘Drumline’ (2002). This was followed by the rom-bowl ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ (2003) with Christina Milian and a supporting role in ‘Shall We Dance’ (2004). The actor is also known for the MTV improvisational comedy show ‘Nick Cannon Presents: Wild N Out’, in which he takes care of part of the comedy, direction and production. For the film ‘Underclassman’, the actor / rapper / comedian also wrote and co-produced in addition to playing the lead role. Just like behind the scenes, Nick Cannon is quite present as Tre Stokes. We’ve seen this type before, the screaming, no-nonsense, street-smart cop who gets the job done while joking. Eddie Murphy in the Beverly Hills Cop movies, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the Bad Boys movies.
Unfortunately, the young cop Tre is not yet put on the big business and has to fight crime with…. The bicycle. The opening scene is therefore a spectacular chase with bicycle, quad and truck. However, Tre and the crooks do leave havoc. This much to the disgust of captain and father figure Victor Delgado played by Cheech Marin from ‘Desperado’ (1995) and ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico’ (2003). Tre is criticized and must from now on strictly adhere to his job description. Until a cop is needed for infiltration at a high school, Tre is now sometimes ‘the right man for the job’ with his youthful looks. His job is to befriend rich man’s son Rob Donovan played by Shawn Ashmore aka Iceman from the ‘X-Men’ movies, and his friends. Tre must find information about the murder of a school newspaper reporter and a bunch of car thieves. With some effort Tre manages to join Rob and his mates, although they have to get used to the strong ‘loud mouth’ that Tre is. In the meantime, he also manages to win over the charms of his handsome Spanish teacher, a role played by Roselyn Sanchez from ‘Rush Hour 2’ (2001), and befriend wannabe Alexander (Johnny Lewis). Tre is well on his way to solving the case, he uses Captain Delgado’s car as bait, but the backup in the form of detectives Brooks (Kelly Hu from ‘X2’ (2003)) and Gallecki (Ian Gomez) leaves it at the crucial moment. You have to see for yourself what exactly happens, “crap” is indeed the right word for it. Tre is therefore taken off the case. However, he tells the captain that he would like to get his diploma and he can finish school. In the meantime, Tre remains secretly involved in the case and eventually manages to catch the villain.
The film has become a mixed bag because it contains too many genres, action, comedy, thriller, romance and drama. The makers here are just as enthusiastic as Tre Stokes with a large part of all these elements in one film. The plot is not really credible either, the strongest point of the film is the action and that is quite impressive. Bumping cars, (paint-ball) pistols, the basketball, the rugby, the smashing jet-ski race and the fast one-liners that Tre spews out. The action accompanied by cool music makes up for a lot, but not everything. Entertainment for in between, that’s all.