Rob Schneider plays a wealthy, crooked real estate agent who is
convicted of fraud in time-share condo sales. He manages to successfully
bribe the judge before sentence is passed, but there is a state minimum
sentence, so the only real break the judge can cut him is to give him six
months before he begins his sentence, "to place his charitable
enterprises in order."
Schneider decides to use the months to train himself with the toughest
martial arts sensei in the world, so that he can be the big dog in the
prison. He is successful in this endeavor, and eventually uses his fearful
strength to bring order and civility to a hardened prison population.
Unfortunately for him, this runs contrary to the warden's wishes. The
warden specifically requested Schneider as an inmate in that prison
because he is planning to get the prison closed and convert the land to
... time-share condos. In order to close the prison, however, he needs it
to be out of control, and Schneider's reforms are turning it into a model
center for rehabilitation and harmony.
In essence, the plot hinges on precisely the same dilemma as the two
versions of The Longest Yard. If Schneider wants to get his early parole,
he will co-operate with the warden's plan, which will result in a prison
riot and will ultimately cause the
deaths of many of the prisoners who have come to respect and believe in
Big Stan, as they call Schneider. If Schneider does not co-operate with
the corrupt master plan, the warden will trump up enough phony charges to
keep him in prison for life.
The fundamental core of Big Stan's quandary is derivative, and that
problem is exacerbated by the fact that one of the films it knocks off,
the second version of The Longest Yard, is still fresh in our memories,
and was produced by Schneider's good friend Adam Sandler. It even
featured Schneider himself in a small role! In that earlier film, the
warden also arranged to get Sandler in the prison because he needed him
for a master scheme, albeit one involving a football game.
I'm thinking maybe they should have waited a while before re-working
the same basic idea in yet another prison movie from the same guys.
Having made that point, I'll add that the film is not a bad watch at
all. I have to confess that I like Rob Schneider when he plays the schlub, and in this case he's also
pretty good as the tough guy. He obviously did a lot of his own fight
scenes after buffing and bulking up for the role. He's supported ably by
David Carradine, who turns in his best performance in years and milks a
lot of laughs out of his role as the tough, jaded, chain-smoking sensei.
The first half hour of the film basically consists of Carradine training
Schneider in some ridiculously rigorous and manly ways - like burning him
alive, making him drink swill, and making him eat live scorpions and
snakes. Now THAT's macho. The training portion of the film is basically a
parody of all the Hollywood "rugged training montage" clichés from fight
movies like the Rocky films, and I enjoyed that section much more than the
predictable prison scenes. If I'm not mistaken, Schneider actually did
stuff a tiny live snake in his mouth in one scene, which represents true
dedication to a comedic premise, especially since Schneider was also the
director, so he did it completely voluntarily.
This is the first film Schneider has ever directed, and it will clearly
not be a financial success. Although the film has been ready to exhibit
for about a year, it has had theatrical showings only in Russia and
Iceland. That can't be good. Worse yet, it made its public debut on Korean
TV. I guess it could be worse. At least it was SOUTH Korea.