This is a fun old movie from the 70's. Burt Reynolds
plays awashed-up football player Paul Crewe, who gets in trouble
with the law and ends up in a Florida jail. The warden has a
semi-pro team (the prison guards) that he wants to get in shape, so he
forces Crewe to get the prisoners in shape for a game against the guards.
He figures that the prisoners, who are not used to playing together as a
team, will easily lose. This will re-assert his dominance in the
prison and make him feel like a big man, and also help his team get
The warden doesn't count on the prisoners' will and the
savvy of Crewe and his new coaching staff. They make this game
important to the prisoners by pointing out that they can beat up the
guards as they play against them. The game becomes even more
important, a symbol of momentary freedom and manhood. Yes, like most
Burt Reynolds movies, it's all about being macho. But it's a pretty
good flick nonetheless. The late Eddie Albert plays against type as
the sadistic warden. There are many appearances by real-life pro
football players of the day. Burt Reynolds was himself a football
player in college, so he moves like one in the movie.
Paul Crewe is not a likable character on paper. He
lands in jail because he beats up his wife, dumps her car in the river,
then picks a fight with some cops. He is no longer pro because he
shaved points off a game (for those of us who are not into football, that
means he played the game so that the score would have a certain number of
points, to make the bookies happy and win him some money-rather than just
playing to win like an honest player). Burt Reynolds, however, is
very charming, so he somehow makes the character work, even though he's a
dishonest wife-beater. I like that the film's ending leaves it open
as to what the future holds for Crewe and the rest of the prisoners.
Movies today seldom do that. It seems like they think audiences have
to have a definite conclusion with everything all neatly tied up.
They recently made a sequel to the movie starring Adam
Sandler, but the reviews I read said it was not very good because they
toned down the grittiness of the movie and made it teen-friendly.
Why do they bother remaking movies if they aren't going to do it right?
Well, if nothing else, I guess they came out with this DVD set to help
promote the movie, so that's a good thing.
The extras on the DVD are great, lots of behind-the-scenes
clips, interviews, etc. This is a very satisfying DVD for anyone who
loves or even likes this movie.
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