Monday, June 26, 2006

Victory (1981) Review

At first glance, you may be tempted to skip over this title; it looks like one of those studio films which tries to throw together a "hot" American actor (Stallone was probably at the peak of his popularity at the time) with an English counterpart (Michael Caine). And you're right, that's what this film is doing. Most of the time these projects don't work. Surprisingly, though, this one is pretty good.
The acting can be a bit clunky, Stallone is not absolutely convincing in his portrayal of a Yank in a dominantly English POW camp & his attempt at a French accent is horrifying. All that aside,though, it is a riveting movie experience. Believe me, this is not a "train wreck" that you can't stop watching- there are genuinely good performances in this film. Caine is right on-the-mark as the coach (I ask you, when is he not great?), Stallone has a couple of scenes where his passion shows (especially in the tunnel under the stadium) & the pro soccer players as a whole turn in good, solid performances. Typically when you have pro athletes in a film, they're usually parodying themselves or a reasonable facsimile. These guys have to play POWs who happen to be soccer players & they're surprisingly good. The actual soccer scenes are terrific. Watching the game, you may appreciate more the skills of first-rate soccer players.
One aspect of this film which is hardly recognized is the musical score. I liked it & found it to be a rousing partner to those moments of triumph.
Granted, this movie isn't perfect (by no stretch of the imagination) but I believe it's worth a try. This may turn out to be one of "your" guilty pleasures.


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