Making the Grades
Patrick Swayze, the main selling point for this movie, plays Jack Charles, a small-time crook that is working himself into the big-time leagues. As he prepares to leave for a trip across the country, two things get in his way: His son and daughter, both of whom he hasn't seen in years. Managing to escape from the corrupt institutions where they were living since the death of their mother, they see Jack as their ticket to freedom. Even though Jack denies knowing either of them, the children are persistent and don't give up on following him through a trail of crime, hoping he will grow to love and help them.
This isn't the first movie I have seen from one of Disney's studio cousins that do their best to portray a criminal as a good guy. It seems to be a popular twist, not to mention a tempting desire for any director to convince his audience by the end of the movie that this common crook is really wonderful. I must admit, director Roodt does an admirable job in this film, of pulling the tears for the swindling character of Jack Charles.
Bad guys with good hearts are not new, but the way they are being presented is following a familiar theme. You find yourself booing the police in these movies, along with everyone else in a position of authority. The only person in this movie you can trust is a newspaper reporter, who seems to have nothing but time on her hands.
I forgot to mention as well, that this is a comedy. Children taught how to avoid the law, steal, and be left abandoned just don't hit my funny bone. The one thing this movie pointed out to me was what a rotten life some kids probably do have. I'd call that a tragedy.