Top positive review
2 February 2015
17-year-old Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) joins the Hamilton Mustangs ice hockey team despite protestations from his father, Blane. His older brother, Kelly, lost an eye playing junior hockey, and his father wants Dean to stay at home and work on the farm. Despite Blane's overprotectiveness, Kelly persuades him to let Dean travel to Canada and try out for The Mustangs.
During the try-outs, Coach Murray Chadwick (Ed Lauter) realizes that, although small, Youngblood has speed and an impressive number of goals scored during the previous season. He picks Youngblood over Racki, which infuriates the latter, a huge bear of a man. Racki promises he will meet The Mustangs again and Youngblood joins the team, which includes Derek Sutton (Patrick Swayze) and Heaver (Keanu Reeves).
Youngblood shows promise and also finds romance with Jessie Chadwick (Cynthia Gibb), which doesn't go down well with the coach. Chadwick begins to regularly bench Youngblood, Racki returns to the ice having been picked up by The Thunder Bay Bombers and Sutton is seriously injured on the ice. Youngblood must prove to the coach that he is good for Jessie and face up to Racki, as well as help The Mustangs win The Memorial Cup without the help of team player Sutton.
Should Youngblood get revenge for Sutton's injury or get out of hockey altogether?
Youngblood (1986) is a teen action drama directed by Peter Markle (Wagons East, The X-Files). It was a minor box office hit that met with mixed reviews at the time, but has since garnered cult status. The film came out alongside a string of teen sports films during the 1980s, most likely prompted by Rocky (1976) and its sequels that dominated the decade. Such films include All The Right Moves (1983), The Karate Kid (1984), Lucas (1988), Eight Men Out (1988), The Karate Kid II (1986), Johnny Be Good (1988), and The Karate Kid III (1989).
I loved this film when it first came out on VHS over here in the UK. I was about 17 when I first saw it, living in a small village, and hired it regularly from the local video man who would come round twice a week, until I could persuade him to sell his copy to me. Youngblood benefits from a tight storyline, strong and believable characters, and plenty of action; it is also paced very well. So ... what if it does contain a touch of 1980's cheesiness? That is what we have come to love and expect from certain films from that decade.
Lowe and Swayze are believable as hockey players: both actors appear natural on film, are in peak physical condition, and have seemingly boundless energy.
It is notable as a vehicle for Rob Lowe early on in his career and for being Keanu Reeves' second feature film appearance. It is also one of Patrick Swayze's earlier projects. The whole cast put in great performances, especially character actor Ed Lauter, who is always reliable. There are no extra features on the DVD version (both PAL and NTSC), so Youngblood is crying out for a special edition, and a sequel in which Rob Lowe could return as a veteran player or coach?
Eric Nesterenko, who plays Lowe's father in the film is an ex-professional hockey player; he played for the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs between 1951 and 1972.
''Let's go, Pretty Boy!''