Slap Shot

Dir: George Roy Hill
Starring: Paul Newman, Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean, Jerry Houser

Virtually the prototype for all those sports flicks in which a bunch of wacky losers eventually come good, this has Newman as the player-coach who rouses his players to try and save the team after the local mill closes. He uses guile, inspiration and the Hanson brothers, who are similar to the crap music combo of that name in that there's three of them with long hair, but differing in their psychopathic tendencies. Which is where Slap Shot parts from its imitators, and surpasses them - success comes not through skill or teamwork, but non-stop violence. In their hands, or rather, fists, hockey becomes more like Rollerball, with audiences responding to their crisply physical approach to the game. Less successful is the attempt to give Newman depth by probing into his love life; the rest of the film is so defiantly macho that the prospect of him having a softer side doesn't really work. They'd have been better off pushing that angle with Michael Ontkean, the talented rookie who refuses to engage in thuggery, gets benched as a result and whose protest leads to the film's (somewhat obvious) conclusion. Still, not many 70's sports films get their own action figures from Todd McFarlane - see the illo!


Non-stop violence, 1/12 scale
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