Now that the kiddies are back in class, I thought it fitting to pull out a lesser known 1986 chalkboard exploitation flick called 3:15 from director & frequent Walter Hill collaborator, Larry Gross.
After Jeff Hannah (Adam Baldwin) walks away from his street gang, he soon realizes that the “Cobras” won’t let him leave so easily.
So the first thing that struck me here was how not teenage everyone looked in this movie. After the initial scuffle that sees Baldwin leave the Cobras, we leap forward in time one year to a high school exterior and I scoffed that he had somehow gotten a teaching job in that amount of time. I then realized no, he was actually a student. It’s funny to me that Baldwin actually looked older here than he did in The Chocolate War shot several years later. Only the extras, who actually went to the school used in the movie – and were given pizza & t-shirts for their participation according to Imdb – look even close to high school age.
|Adam Baldwin (right) and Danny De La Paz in 3:15.|
Apart from that, you really have to suspend your disbelief toward a situation being this out of hand. Parents and teachers alike, save a frothing Rene Auberjonois as the school principal are so completely inconsequential and passive, it’s almost comical. I feel like you could’ve taken the school right out of this and just made it about street gangs and not missed a beat – they just would’ve had to change the title.
That said, even the other gangs in the school are just window dressing. Mario Van Peebles leads a Black Panther-esque group called the M-16’s, but don’t do more than hold up the scenery and, for some reason, Lincoln High sports a karate class that is featured for nothing more than a glorified cutaway. In addition to Peebles though, there were a ton of familiar faces, including an always smoking Gina Gershon as one of the “Cobrettes” and Wings Hauser – with real-life wife at the time Nancy Locke – playing parents to Baldwin’s love interest Deborah Foreman.
|Deborah Foreman as Sherry in 3:15|
Speaking of the Cobrettes, they turned out to be the most malicious out of all of the gangs in the movie, roughing up their competition with nifty makeshift weapons, including lipstick blades(!)
At the end of the day, 3:15 was mildly interesting as a throwaway exploitation flick, but the similarly constructed “meet you after school” effort Three O Clock High (released the next year) was far more substantial and rooted in its heightened reality.
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