Watch Masterminds

"He's a teenage one-man army... and he doesn't have a hall pass!"
  • PG-13
  • 1997
  • 1 hr 46 min
  • 5.2  (3,751)

Masterminds is a 1997 action-comedy film that blends elements of a high-tech heist with a teen versus villain adventure in a unique setting – a posh private school. Directed by Roger Christian, the film showcases a cat-and-mouse game that elicits suspense, humor, and a fair share of gadgetry to entertain viewers. The film stars Patrick Stewart, playing a decidedly villainous role, opposite young actor Vincent Kartheiser, who showcases teen angst and ingenuity in equal measure. Actress Brenda Fricker also makes a significant contribution to the film's dynamic cast.

The movie revolves around the character Ozzy Paxton, portrayed by Vincent Kartheiser. He's a rebellious and technically savvy teenager with a penchant for hacking and a track record for causing trouble. With his younger sister attending the prestigious Shady Glen School, Ozzy finds himself inadvertently caught up in a dangerous situation when he visits her. The once-ordinary day at the elite school quickly spirals out of control as it becomes the stage for a high-stakes crime.

Enter Patrick Stewart's character, Rafe Bentley, a seemingly sophisticated and refined individual with a sinister secret agenda. Bentley is a security consultant for the school, but beneath this facade, he's the cool-headed mastermind of an audacious plan to extort a fortune. With his sophisticated knowledge and control over the school's state-of-the-art security system, he is seemingly several steps ahead of his adversaries.

The film sets in motion a suspenseful and action-packed story as Ozzy becomes the fly in the ointment of Bentley's well-laid plans. Despite being just a teen, Ozzy possesses a remarkable ability to think on his feet, turn technology to his advantage, and display a level of resourcefulness that is underestimated by the criminals he faces. His knowledge of video games, computers, and electronics becomes unexpectedly crucial in navigating the crisis.

Brenda Fricker plays the role of Principal Claire Maloney, whose duty to maintain order and safeguard her students becomes complicated by the unfolding criminal plot. Principal Maloney, caught in an impossible situation, needs to manage the crisis, deal with the precarious safety of her pupils, and navigate Bentley's deadly game.

The setting of Masterminds plays a considerable role in the film's narrative development. Shady Glen School is equipped with cutting-edge technological defenses and sophisticated computer systems, a virtual fortress that Bentley knows how to manipulate. However, it's these very features that give rise to a battle of wits, with Ozzy utilizing the edifice's advanced features to outsmart his opponents and attempt to outmaneuver Bentley at his own game.

The film is marked by frequent shifts in tone, merging moments of tension with elements of comedy, as Ozzy disrupts Bentley's operation. The stark contrast between the characters is heightened by their intelligence and determination: one is trying to protect his sister and the school, and the other is dead-set on achieving his nefarious goals regardless of the consequences.

Despite its seemingly serious premise, Masterminds is imbued with the spirit of 90s comedy, with its zany humor and one-liners. Kartheiser's portrayal of Ozzy gives viewers a protagonist who is both relatable and admirable, a young hero who not only stands up to the bad guy but does so with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Meanwhile, Patrick Stewart as Bentley brings gravitas and intensity to his villainous role, making for a formidable antagonist with a complex character that offers more than just a one-dimensional baddie. The veteran actor's performance provides a weighty counterbalance to the youthful energy of Kartheiser, making their on-screen conflict all the more engaging.

As Ozzy navigates the labyrinthine school, he unravels layers of Bentley's plan, each step raising the stakes and urgency of his quest. The supporting characters, too, have their moments, contributing to the plot while adding depth to the social environment of the school, often with comedic undertones that alleviate the tension at critical moments.

The movie's pacing is brisk, as it takes the audience through numerous set pieces and plot twists, maintaining engagement and suspense throughout. It's a game of strategy that unfolds on several levels, as intellectual prowess, bravery, and the occasional stroke of luck come into play.

Masterminds is a product of its time, with the late 90s backdrop apparent in its aesthetic and cultural references. However, it's this amalgamation of nostalgia, clever escapades, and the classic trope of an underdog taking on a superior foe that give the film its timeless appeal.

While Masterminds may not have been a blockbuster hit, it stands out as an entertaining piece with strong performances and a well-crafted narrative that captures the essence of the action-comedy genre of its era. It's a fun, often overlooked film that offers just the right mix of thrills and laughs.

Masterminds is a 1997 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.2.

Where to Watch Masterminds
Masterminds is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Masterminds for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 46 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.2  (3,751)