A/V Room









Goal! (12A)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

FOOTBALL movies don't tend to score that highly at the box office due to the fact that few have managed to tap into the excitement that comes with watching a really classic game.

Goal! shoots wide of the mark also but at least has fun in the process, emerging as the sort of guilty pleasure that you won't mind forking out to see.

It's the flipside of films like Green Street, serving as an inspiration to any young hopeful who has ever set foot on a football pitch with dreams of making the big time.

Yet it's so prone to groan-inducing cliche and obvious story arcs that it cannot escape some pretty harsh criticism into the bargain.

The film is part one of an ambitious trilogy that chronicles the rise and rise of Mexican footballing prodigy Santiago Munez (played by Kuno Becker), as he travels from East LA obscurity to world superstar status.

Part one finds him being discovered by a former football agent (Stephen Dillane) and being signed by Newcastle FC, where he must prove he has what it takes to mix it with the Premiership's elite and help the Toon Army into Europe.

Parts two and three are said to further the story as Munez first signs for Real Madrid and then makes his mark on the World Cup Finals.

It remains to be seen whether the remaining movies will ever kick off but, for the most part, part one is hopelessly cheesy fun.

Becker mixes his suitably wide-eyed presence with some showy football skills, while the likes of Alessandro Nivola and Marcel Iures (as a spoilt team-mate and manager respectively) seem to have gauged the overall tone of proceedings fairly well, rarely venturing into any serious acting.

What's more, there's even a number of cameos from real Newcastle players (Alan Shearer and Kieron Dyer among them), as well as world stars such as Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham (for extra added authenticity).

Curiously, though, the football matches themselves lack any real excitement and fall foul of most of the expected cliches.

Needless to say, Munez finds fame and courts the pitfalls that come with it, before finding his feet and scoring highly with the footballing faithful.

Ironically, Goal! was supposed to have been directed by Michael Winterbotoom and had cast Diego Luna in the lead role.

Directorial responsibilities now rest with Danny Cannon, who has found fame and fortune in America as a producer of Jerry Bruckheimer's lucrative CSI series.

The same flashy camera techniques are employed here to lend the film a little extra zest.

When all is said and done, however, Goal! is an instantly forgettable film that struggles to justify any need for its sequels - it's kind of fun while it lasts but quickly becomes relegated from memory.

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