City Desk

Sarge Cerrato Won’t Live Down His Star Turn, But Redskins and Bad Movies Have a Past

Dan Steinberg posted another clip from "Kindergarten Ninja" today on the Sports Bog.

That's the B-minus movie from 1994 that starred Cerrato as "Sgt. Antonelli," a detective who enlists kids to help him fight drug gangs.

It's amazing viewing.

Fallout from his role in "Kindergarten Ninja" could have legs. Folks over at Extremeskins.com, Dan Snyder's message board, have begun dropping references to "Sarge" and "Antonelli" whenever derision of Cerrato is called for.

But Cerrato isn't the first Redskins thespian. And "Ninja"' might not be the worst Redskins movie, either.

As bad as Cerrato's scenes are, the movie's gotta be "Bladerunner" compared to "Brotherhood of Death," a Redskins-laden feature film from 1976.

"Brotherhood" starred Skins Mike Thomas, Mike Bass, Roy Jefferson and Frank Grant as Vietnam vets who come back to their Southern hometown to shoot it out with the Ku Klux Klan.

The Washington Post's review of "Brotherhood" back in the day said the film “resembles a home movie.”

And of the shootout scenes (shot in Gaithersburg, not the Deep South) with the men in hoods and robes, the Post critic wrote: “O.J. Simpson did it in ‘The Klansman’ and did it with better moves.”

Several years ago, I interviewed a lot of the folks involved in "Brotherhood of Death" for a story about the Blaxploitation nugget, which can count Quentin Tarantino as a fan. My favorite comments came from Erich Roland, who shows up in the "Brotherhood" credits as both a production assistant and "Soldier on Guard Duty."

Roland was an 18 year old local kid and hardcore Redskins fan when he was recruited to work on "Brotherhood."

He's gone on to a long and distinguished career working Academy Award-winning films and serious documentaries.

But Roland never forgot where he came from.

"I never got the sense that anybody on that set thought we were making art," Roland told me in 2005. "Now, after 29 years, I can say that [Brotherhood] is the only movie I’ve ever worked on where people didn’t at least pretend they were making art."

Roland was not part of the Kindergarten Ninja crew, and has never worked with Vinny Cerrato.

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