Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
on 23 April 2006
I guess the target market for this DVD release would be the now (late)-30 somethings who fondly remember this film from their various misspend youths. Certainly that was how I picked up the film as this formed a vast amount of my video and film watching time back when I was a teenager.
"Youngblood" tells the story of Dean Youngblood, a talented young ice hockey player who is desperate to leave the impoverished farm he works with his father and older brother. Managing to secure a trail with a well respected Canadian youth team, the Hamilton Mustangs, he impresses the coach, Murray Chadwick, with his speed and skill but not so much with his size and strength. When the rough and ready Racki, a formidable rival trialist kicks Dean all over the ice it looks like Dean may not get the call up he so wants.
Still all's well that ends well and Dean makes the team and gets to meet his new teammates, who strip and shave him and also Miss McGill his boarding landlady who provides a lot more than bed and breakfast. He also meets up with Chadwick's young daughter, Jessie, and whilst both realise that any sort of relationship between the two of them is only going to antagonise Chadwick neither of them can deny the attraction they feel for each other.
The pivotal point of the film comes when the Mustang's captain, Derek Sutton someone with whom Dean has built up a firm friendship is critically injured by Racki who by now has been recruited by the Mustang's feared rivals, the Thunder Bay Bombers. Dean must decide where in light of Derek's serious injuries whether he has the heart for the game and whether he too can risk serious injuries or whether he should dish out suitable revenge for his friend's injury.
It's the classic sports film story, Dean is knocked down, built up, knocked down again, takes some advise from a fatherly older figure and then returns to become the last minute hero, but what I like is that the film doesn't try to be anything more than this. There's no subliminal messages to try to interpret and similarly there's no multi-faceted characters to try to understand. That's not to say the film isn't without its subtleties. Ed Lauter is great fun as coach Chadwick and daughter Jessie played by Cynthia Gibb also shows great charm and enthusiasm. Also mention for Jim Youngs & Eric Nesterenko (an ex-pro Hockey player in fact) as Dean's brother and father who show a real humanity and humility in their roles.
The two stars, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze should also be applauded. OK, the parts don't call for the most intricate or demanding interpretation but both deliver great energetic performances and are extremely watchable. Final mention for a very short appearance by Keanu Reeves as the quite bizarre French-Canadian goalkeeper and my personal favourite Duane Hewitt the assistant-captain. "I'm gonna carve you up Racki!" - Great fun!