Inspired by the true story of the 1987 NFL strike, this comedy tells the story of an over-the-hill coach and a washed-up former quarterback who lead a team of strike-bearing "replacement killers" to a short but glorious se... more »ason of victories in professional football.« less
"As shocking as it may be, when you think about it, the football movies of the past, to include Oliver Stone's excellent but dark, "On Any Given Sunday" simply do not match this film. I will even place this film in the all-time greats like "Pride of the Yankees" and "The Natural". First, we don't need to watch any more tragedies on film, we need to see something that inspires us to overcome, and this film delivers: I'm surprised its considered a comedy! Hackman should get an oscar for this film because his narration and actions drive the film and create yet another complex character from the mind of the master. Hackman's Coach knows that the men he wants to be his replacements are great, he is frustrated that life hasn't shown them that and he wants to set them up for success, not failure. He believes in them as human beings, not just as football players, that if they can get a "second chance" they will shine. His talks with Keanu Reeves' charachter, reveal a candor and leadership style you should really consider. He tells him flat out he wants to see the man and the ability come together because it will be wonderful to see or words to that effect, his belief in the REALITY that Reeves can deliver are stupendous. Later he instructs his Quarterback, in the hour of decision, the leader wants the ball in his hands. Along the way, Reeves meets a sexy head cheerleader and there is a nice romance where she begins to believe in him, too. The football action scenes are the best yet to grace movie screens, you feel like you are in shoulder pads/helmet again. What I like was how just before the final game that would decide whether they go to the play-offs or not, Reeves gets canned by front-office politics in favor of the arrogant Joe Theismann-type "all pro" quarterback who is afraid he will lose his job. You are not really sure how the film will end at this point, the team follows the leadership of Reeves but are losing under the arrogant vet. The coach gets a phone call. I will not give away the ending but Hackman's voice over after the game, clinches it, I paraphrase: "All men once they have touched greatness in their lives are changed forever".AND THIS IS THE POINT! Just once, do something great in your life! Go all out and let yourself know that you can do it, once you know this you will be changed forever. The world doesn't let you or want you to know that greatness is within your grasp, this is why it beats you down. Find your gift you have been given and act on it, this is the true attitude "replacement" we need and this film shows us how to get it."
Football's the one with the pointy ball, right?
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 04/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For the record, I don't know a lot about football. I was one of those guys who figured that football was for those poor souls who couldn't make it in the band. I am not qualified to pass judgement on how good the football sequences in this movie. I AM QUALIFIED, however to pass judgement on what entertains me. This movie qualifies.
The situation is an NFL strike. Some scab players are hired to play in the pros in the place of the "real players". Against all the odds, they do well. That pretty well sums it up and it follows, I think, all of the standard cliches. That is not what the movie is about, though. It is about laughs and it is about heart. This movie has both.
This is not going to go down as one of the great comedies of all time. It does, however, have its moments. Some of the laughs are just chuckles and a few are great big belly laughs. I think the sumo wrestler qualifies for the latter.
The movie also has heart. The guys on the team do their best. When faced with a choice between an all-pro prima donna and "their guy", they make the right choice. They do their best and they triumph. Maybe football isn't as wimpy as I thought.
Unoriginal but hilarious
flickjunkie | 12/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the fact that this film is a totally unoriginal and predictable retread of a dozen "losers to winners" sports stories, it is so hysterically funny that I didn't even care. The story is thin at best. The NFL is having a players strike and scabs are called in to finish the season. Our heroes are low on ability but high on desire and peculiarity. The quarterback, Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), once had a promising career, but he fell apart psychologically when his team was pummeled in a college bowl game and he was labeled a player that folds in the big game. Of course, while visiting the NFL, Shane falls in love with the head cheerleader (Brooke Langton) who never dates players (except of course this once).All this is merely a mundane excuse for a raucous and silly comedy that has some sidesplitting moments. To enjoy this film you really need two things. You need to love football and you need to enjoy slapstick, banana peel comedy. I realize that this limits the audience considerably, but for those who qualify (and I am one), this movie is a scream.Director Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink, Grumpier Old Men) did a great job on the football sequences. He hired 45 professional football players (Former NFL players, Canadian Football League, etc.) to do the football scenes and sent the actors to a three-week football camp. The action looked real because it was real. The players were told to play and hit the way they normally would. Of course, the plays were choreographed, but they were real football plays.The comedy was lowbrow, outrageous and crass, with a great deal of physical comedy. The cheerleader scenes were a riot, especially the cheerleader tryouts. The scene where they started pantomiming sex acts to distract the opposing team was priceless. There was also sharp-witted football humor that required more than just a passing knowledge of the game.There isn't much serious that can be said about the acting. Keanu Reeves tried to play an earnest comeback and romantic role amidst all the foolishness and it really didn't fit with the rest of the film. However, he was an excellent athlete. He did most of his own on-field shots and looked very believable as the quarterback. Gene Hackman was good when he was making snappy wisecracks, but his inspirational "Hoosiers" imitation was misplaced.This film really belonged to the supporting actors like Orlando Jones (Clifford Franklin), Michael Taliferro and Faizon Love (The Jackson Twins), Ace Yonamine (Jumbo Fumiko), Rhys Ifans (Nigel "The Leg" Gruff) and all the cheerleaders who made the comedy work. Jon Favreau gets a special mention as the crazy S.W.A.T. officer turned linebacker who took the wild man role to the next level. The scenes with an incredulous Pat Summerall and John Madden were also fabulous.This film won't be fun for everyone, but it will have certain people falling off their chairs. I rated it an 8/10. Subtract two points if you aren't amused by slapstick and boorish behavior, and another two if you aren't a football fan. For the rest of you, be prepared to split a gut."
Always Good for a Laugh
dasocokid | Apple Valley, MN United States | 02/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is essentially Necessary Roughness reincarnated for the 21st century. Except this time, Kathy Ireland has been traded for a wise-cracking, nipple-rubbing Welch kicker. Despite the similar plot lines, The Replacements has enough surprises and character twists to stand alone. The musical score is simply incredible, and does a fantastic job of setting the mood for each scene. I've gotten more miles out of this dvd than many "critically acclaimed" films. Bottom Line: It's uplifting, hilarious fun that is worth every penny. Anyone who has had a dream will enjoy this one."
In the Red Zone of Hollywood: Touchdown! The Replacements
Kevin M Burns | College Station, TX United States | 03/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From The MonitorCorny dialogue. Mediocre acting. Predictable plot. One great movie. "The Replacements" is a movie about athletes who forget salary caps and product endorsements (although this feature is chock-full of product placement) and remember football. "The Replacements" is a light comedy, but nevertheless, like "Any Given Sunday," pushes an agenda. It portrays athletes as money-grubbing crybabies more interested in counting their money than playing. It suggests that heart and love of the game are lost in professional football, but the agenda is equally lost in the humor and excitement of the hard-hitting games. The Washington Sentinels represent the riffraff-composed Washington Redskins who became a darkhorse team during the 1987 National Football League players' strike. Upon the mid-season strike, the NFL coaches scrambled together a bricolage of players to finish out the season. Less retired and more fired Coach Jimmy McGinty, played by Gene Hackman (from Mississippi Burning), is rehired to coach the Washington Sentinels, a ragtag and bobtail consisting of has-beens and never-were, one being former Ohio State quarterback Shane "Footsteps" Falco, AKA Keanu Reeves. This jaded group of players met in discord, but with Coach McGinty's tutelage and Falco's lead-by-example bravado, they soon began working as a team, to ultimately compete in their final showdown against Dallas. Off the field, Falco is making a `pass' at Sentinel head cheerleader Annabelle Farrell, played by Brooke Langton. However, Annabelle, with her "I don't date football players...especially quarterbacks" schtick, makes for a tough opponent. In the end, Farrell, in light of Falco's growing on her like bacteria in a petri dish, discovers that she does indeed date quarterbacks."The Replacements" is not an Oscar candidate but it isn't running for one either. It is an upbeat movie that instills faith in quixotical dreams. It adds a little humor, mostly from the mouth of Orlando Jones, who plays Clifford Franklin, as spice for a feelgood entrée. If you're tired of the sausage of summer action movies perpetually coming from Hollywood's movie meatgrinder, relax, enjoy, and revel in "The Replacements.""