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A washed-up quarter back (Reeves) leads a team of misfit football players assembled by a coach (Hackman) to replace striking pro players.
Item Type: DVD Movie
Item Rating: PG13
Street Date: 02/08/05
Wide Screen: yes
Director Cut: no
Special Edition: no
Foreign Film: noSubtitles: no
Full Frame: yes
The Replacements manages to be both completely formulaic and yet immensely enjoyable. When a professional football players' strike happens, the owner of a fictitious team, the Washington Sentinels, commissions maverick coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) to pull together a team. McGinty selects a collection of talented oddballs--a Welsh soccer player, a sumo wrestler, a couple of professional bodyguards--with athletic pasts, figuring that if it doesn't work out as a game, it might as well be a circus. To lead the team, he finds Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), a once-promising player who had a disastrous championship game. Naturally, despite squabbling and bickering, a roguish camaraderie develops through a mixture of racial infighting, harassment from the striking professionals, and a big bar brawl--after which they're all thrown in jail and perform the most improbable impromptu dance number ever committed to film. The mixture of cheerfully cliché plot mechanics, an engaging collection of supporting actors (including Orlando Jones, Rhys Ifans from Notting Hill, and Jon Favreau from Swingers), and sheer ridiculousness somehow combines to make The Replacements completely entertaining. Reeves is somehow turning into a pleasant leading man; he even emotes convincingly in this movie. And let's face it, Gene Hackman is quite possibly the greatest actor alive, able to speak the trashiest dialogue with fierce conviction. Plus, just to prove that the tight pants and close huddles of football are heterosexual, there are many, many shots of cheerleaders going through stripper-inspired routines. --Bret Fetzer
- 2 Behind-the-scenes Documentaries
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The legendary Gene Hackman plays straight man to Orlando jones, Fraizon Love, Jon Favreau , personal favorite Rhys Ifans ( of " Notting Hill " fame ) and many other wonderful performers.
The plot is simple enough. A group of former college players ( and a former English football star with a serious gambling problem ) and at least one convict are assembled in a desperate attempt to keep the the Washington Sentinels on the field in the face of a players strike. Hackman is brought on board by that living acting institution Jack Warden, to take this assemblage of unheard of misfits and mold them into a viable professional team. What proceeds from that point is pretty much what one would expect, which is just fine with me. The casting is perfect. The lesser known actors, whether they play football players or exotic dancers turned cheerleaders are dead on perfect in their roles. I particularly enjoyed Keanu Reeves's on screen chemistry with the lovely and charming Brooke Langton.
But of course, the signature scene of this film is where the Replacement players sign and dance to the disco era classic " I Will Survive " while behind bars for a fight they has against the Sentinel's regular players. It's both funny and very well embodies this film's theme.
The Replacements may not be a shining example of great cinema, but it's a great deal of fun.