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Kea-nu it could be this good? March 29, 2007

Posted by philbw in : Reviews , trackback

The Replacements
“Pain heals, Chicks dig scars… Glory lasts for ever…”

Keanu Reeves stars in this little seen, dvd-friendly sports movie directed by Howard Deutch. Released in between Keanu’s first two Matrix outings, the film tells the story of a substitute squad hired to replace a striking Washington football team. Keanu’s character is a “never-was” quarter-back who blew a big game and has never played since, who’s called up to be the backbone of the new team. Keanu hasn’t displayed as much charisma and charm in a role as he does in this since Bill & Ted, and it makes his performance in The Matrix look even more wooden (if thats possible).

Keanu is supported by a veritable feast of “I know the face, but not the name” actors starring as his football teammates - Jon Favereau, Orlando Jones, Faizon Love, and the UK’s very own Rhys Ifans. Brooke Langton, from the tv version of THE NET, plays Keanu’s love interest and substitute cheerleader, her character gives the movie more emotional depth than others in the genre… The biggest star of this movie is undoubtbly Gene Hackman, who plays the coach hired to train the team. Hackman successfully recreates the great sports-coach attitude he displayed in the classic basketball movie BEST SHOT (aka HOOSIERS) and its this Hackman I prefer to see on screen - he has been in some great movies in his career, but it will always be the more affable characters I like to see him play (see Best Shot, Enemy of the State, Target).

The Replacements is another strong entry in the sports movie genre, succesfully adding a more “screwball” element to the proceedings - the pucking huddle, the jailhouse “I will survive” karaoke, and the car-tossing/shootout play-off. The film holds it own in a sea of US football movies by virtue of its great characters, screwball comedy and excellent use of the soundtrack. And Howard Deutch hasn’t made this good a movie since The Great Outdoors back in 1988..!

Whilst The Replacements is pure escapism - it is also rather GOOD…
**** 4/5

If you enjoyed The Replacements i’d also recommend:

Neccesary Roughness
Varsity Blues
The Longest Yard


1. Daniel Stephens - March 29, 2007

I’d agree! Very nice review. Can I also recommend (although they take themselves rather more seriously than The Replacements) Friday Night Lights and Remember The Titans.

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