Some movies practically relish being cliche. Youngblood is one of them.
Our focus in on a 17-year-old farmboy and prospective hockey player named Dean Youngblood. His father hates the idea because he fears his son will get hurt badly, but brother Kelly, a failed hockey trainee himself, is just happy for Dean. Still, Kelly warns Dean that he should stand by for trouble. Sure enough, Dean ends up barely making the team and getting bullied by his fellow teammates, especially since he sucks at fighting. He does earn their respect when he scores a goal in their first game. But Dave Youngblood (or just Youngblood as he’s called in the papers) loses his taste for the game and quits it when star player Derek is grounded by injury. That is until Youngblood’s brother persuades him to come back with a speech about how big an opportunity playing hockey is.
How is all this cliche? well, first of all, the main character is an underdog like so many leads in sports movies. Second, he has a hard time fitting in, Third, he’s got an unattainable girlfriend in Jessie, daughter of the coach who doesn’t want her dating any rowdy hockey players. Finally, there’s Youngblood’s brief departure from the sport. Plus, who watching really thought he was going to stay away? There might as well have been a caption that says, “you know he’s going to play again, don’t you?”
Another problem is the logic of this movie. Remember how I said that Youngblood doesn’t do well in the tryouts and barely makes the team? We don’t see much improvement before he makes a goal in the first game. Hence, there is nothing up to that point that indicates that he should even come close to sending the puck into the net. Also, a big deal is made of Youngblood’s inability to win one of the fights between plays. That shouldn’t be a problem. Just refuse all challenges. It’s not like the ref is going to dock the team points. In fact, when a fight occurs in real hockey, both combatants go the penalty box. There are numerous other holes in this movie’s plot.
Considering all these problems, I’m surprised I don’t give this movie a 3 or 4. But the dialogue between characters is quite solid, although often peppered with 1980s xenophobia (among other things, there’s a mocking of Canada’s national anthem. what a class act.) Strong interactions include Derek telling Youngblood that players are but disposable machines to the coaches and owners. I’d say that these interactions keep this from being another awful teen movie.
Youngblood is an OK drama. You take some good, you take some bad with this movie.
Overall: 5 out of 10