Picks and Pans Review: Take Down

updated 04/16/1979 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/16/1979 01:00AM

The students of working-class Mingo Junction High want to beat their arch-rivals, snooty Rockville, just onceā€”at anything. Wrestling is their last hope, but Mingo doesn't even have a team until a sorry-tailed bunch of losers gets together in desperation. Shot on a sneaker string ($1.8 million) in American Fork, Utah (starring many local high schoolers), Take Down is the first independent film distributed by Walt Disney Productions in 20 years and the first PG ever. (The rating is due to some locker-room language.) Director Kieth Merrill, whose documentary The Great American Cowboy won the 1973 Oscar, creates a mood that's real without being artsy-gritty and wrings individuality from his amateur actors. But this film is, as they say at graduation, not an end but a beginning. Most Likely to Succeed are legacies Kevin Hooks, 20, son of Robert, and Lorenzo Lamas, 21, son of Fernando and Arlene Dahl. The hunky Lamas shows he can act as well as project a "lean-on-me" quality reminiscent of the young Gary Cooper. (PG)

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