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Movie Reviews

The Replacements  

Cast
Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves)
Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman)
Annabelle (Brooke Langton)
Daniel Bateman (Jon Favreau)
Franklin (Orlando Jones)
Directed by Howard Deutch Written by Vince McKewin
Rated PG-13 for some crude sexual humor and language
Running Time: 115 minutes Distributed by Warner Bros.

Replacements, The
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The Replacements is a simple and happy comedy about getting a second chance. Shane Falco (Reeves) was once a great All-American quarterback at Ohio State. Shane can now only regret what is behind him and can't even begin to imagine what's ahead. When professional football players decide to strike, leaving the prospect of empty fields (and equally empty stadiums) for team's owners to contemplate, the Washington Sentinels search for a solution. They decide to bring back retired head coach, Jimmy McGinty (Hackman) to coach the team. McGinty immediately begins to find players who will play for love and with heart, not for money and fame. For the owners and the league the situation is hideous, but not for Shane and his new teammates, it is a second chance for them to play the game they love. As they begin to make non-believers into believers, the team discovers in itself the desire and determination to live their childhood dream.

The Replacements is a likeable film that really nails the head on many problems with professional athletes today.

Howard Deutch does for the most part a good job of directing the film. He creates a workable atmosphere for the story, which includes shooting most of the football scenes in the Washington Redskins new stadium. Deutch does not capture the bone crunching; sweat and blood of the gridiron like Oliver Stone did so brilliantly in Any Given Sunday. However, that powerful side of the game isn't needed or intended to be shown in this movie. The Replacements is a comedy and Any Given Sunday is a deep drama, so the two are almost opposite. I did like the camera angles that Deutch used in the stadium shots. There are certain shots of the cheerleaders, the big-screen TV, the coaches, the fans and most of all the players, which are all presented nicely. One other noticeable camera shot that Deutch used in this film is that he shows the special teams players running down the field after the kickoffs. This is a point of the football game that I have never seen in film before, or at least they didn't emphasize on it.

Vince McKewin wrote the script for The Replacements. There are a few stupid moments, but the script stands true to its plot. In my opinion, the dumbest scene in the film is the introduction of Shane Falco. The audience is first introduced to Shane as he is underwater re-enacting with one of his football trophies as if he was in a huge game. I understand what the writer was trying to create with this scene, but it doesn't work. There are also a lot of cliches that everyone has seen before in this film. Examples are the player who is fast but can't catch, the cheerleaders distracting the opposing team and the hotheaded linebacker. However, the plot of the film is what really holds strong, which is that everyday people can be just as good and heroic as famous people. The writer shows the heart and determination people have for something they love, and the bitterness of professional athletes who only care about money and fame, not the game.

Watching Keanu Reeves act is like watching a plain wall. He is just a really dull actor, but Shane Falco is one of his best characters. Gene Hackman is terrific as the old school coach Jimmy McGinty. Hackman steals every scene he is in, like always. His body language and costume reminded me of the late Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry. Orlando Jones is really something to watch as the replacement wide-receiver Franklin. Jones became known for his famous "Make 7 Up Yours" commercials. Just looking at him, I chuckle. He has a huge friendly grin with pearly white teeth and the eyes to contribute to his original body language. Orlando Jones needs to get a lead role in a film. Brooke Langston looks to be a pretty good leading actress of the future with her pure and sweet performance, as Shane Falco's love interest Annabelle. Langston looks very closely like a young Lauren Holly, but Langston is a better actress. Lastly, Jon Favreau almost overdoes his performance as the hotheaded cop-turned linebacker for the Sentiels.

Another contributable aspect in this film is its great soundtrack. From the famous songs like "I Will Survive" to The Police's "Every Breath You Take". The soundtrack for The Replacements is very colorful with its many styles of music.

The Replacements is an enjoyable film that I believe that most people will like. Just look past some of the film's dumb scenes and cliches, and then find the film's true meaning. The result is you will be entertained.

Report Card Grade: B-

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