Having not seen this movie since 1983 at my only friend’s house who actually had HBO, I was a little scared that it wouldn’t hold up. I mean, it’s got a lot going against it:
- Prisoner of war movie
- Sylvester Stallone as a “soccer player”
- Max von Sydow
- Pele’ actually attempting to act
I decided to give it a try given that the World Cup now begins today (!) and I happen to enjoy soccer and a good ’80’s movie anytime I can get them. I must say that I was not disappointed. Not in the least. Warning: if you attempt to watch this with a spouse who does not remember the ’80’s, has never seen a “Rocky” film and is lukewarm about soccer, you will be enjoying this by yourself as she peacefully sleeps on the couch.
What is awesome about this movie? It’s completely ridiculous first of all. That a prison camp commander would organize a soccer game between some Allied prisoners and the German NATIONAL team is laughable. It’s also hard to believe that any man can contain Sylvester Stallone in any prison. Clearly they have not seen “Rocky III.” Clubber Lang could give them a few tips. The addition of Pele as a soldier from Trinidad who just happens to be dominant with a soccer ball is especially choice. Kind of like if LeBron showed up in “Hoosiers” as a janitor that just happens to also make the Hickory High team. And anytime you can get a nice underdog theme going (Prisoners of war…against the NATIONAL team!) It’s always a good time.
Oh, and spoiler alert, but if I’m in my carefully constructed tunnel under the stadium on my way to freedom, I really DON’T think that I’m heading back, just because I’ve got a chance to win the game. I’m out of that tunnel and munching on a croissant on the streets of Paris in about 16 seconds.
Don’t let the movie art frighten you, give Victory a chance.