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Why Soccer Movies Fail To Score

When you think of the movie industry, you immediately think of Hollywood. A location that plays host to countless big screen mega-stars from both past and present and a world where many a genre of film has been produced.

Whether you are more inclined to sit through the latest action thriller or romantic comedy, Hollywood will have you covered. Although there is one genre in particular that it fails to master on a regular basis, that being the genre of Sport.


When Saturday Comes

Now admittedly there have been some incredible sporting films over the years, one does not have to look much further than the early editions of ‘Rocky’ for proof of that as Sylvester Stallone packed a punch in the Boxing Ring.

Or how about the Gridiron classic ‘Any Given Sunday’ which recreated the high drama involved with being at the helm of an NFL franchise. It seems as though for every touchdown they score with this kind of football, they score an own goal with its British cousin.

The Soccer film is one that has been attempted on countless occasions and it is fair to say that most times it has been something of a relegation candidate from the off. For every “Goal’ there is a ‘When Saturday Comes’ and for ‘Football Factory’ read ‘The Firm.’

In all fairness the release of ‘Goal’ back in 2005 did raise the bar quite considerably in terms of Soccer films. At the same time when you compare the output that went before it, it’s like Real Madrid playing a local College outfit.

The competition was not all that great and also the legacy of the film was undoubtedly undone with the two sequels that followed. Any quality production is always hard to then better when releasing a follow up, the same is no different when it comes to movies.

Therefore, one should not be too harsh when reviewing ‘Goal 2’ it was a solid if not spectacular mid-table contender. It’s the third part of the trilogy which really undoes all the hard work that the first two titles had made.


Goal 3

‘Goal 3’ went straight to DVD release, which is always a worrying sign when reviewing the film’s quality. Add into the mix the fact that the lead actor from the first two was no longer playing a part in the story and you know that the budget for the production has decreased substantially.

Something that is evident from the off, especially when you consider that the first film made use of the glorious St James’ Park stadium which is based in the English city of Newcastle. Now compare that to solely green screen studio shots in the third edition and the drop off in quality is glaringly obvious.

A rigid script full of Soccer clichés makes this one a very tough one to watch and a sad end to what could have been a solid trilogy. It’s one of those efforts that makes you think that it was probably better left untouched.

However, money does talk in the movie industry and this won’t have been the first attempt and making a few more bucks from a relatively established brand. At the same time this is certainly not the only Soccer flop to have graced the big screen.


Take for example the ill-fated attempt by Soccer’s governing body FIFA to get in on the action. 2015 saw them fund a film titled ‘United Passions’ and it is one that would probably like to dust under the carpet.

Considering around that time the might of the United States Justice Department was eyeing their every movement like a hawk, the best thing they could have done is not draw any attention to themselves.

And although hindsight is a wonderful thing, the production of a self-indulgent movie such as this one was not the best idea they ever had. With FIFA’s image already in turmoil due to the outbreak of recent scandals, it is fair to say that movie goers were not in a rush to see this one.

Something that was evident by the fact that it took a measly 900 dollars at the Box Office in its opening weekend. If this was a newfound Soccer club it would have folded after its first game after such a demoralising defeat.

The examples listed above are just some of the recent Soccer movie efforts that have fallen well short of success, however, there is also one from the 1980’s that certainly cannot be forgotten when creating a list of this kind.


Sylvester Stallone may have landed a knockout blow in his role as Rocky, but he should have been left on the substitutes bench after his effort in ‘Escape To Victory’. Now it is perhaps unfair to label this solely as a Soccer film due to the underlying story that goes with it, in the same way that it’s not fair to label a new online game such as Bonanza slot as an escape game just because it has a gold mine tunnel as a backdrop.

It’s not strictly a sporting film as the movie focuses on a group of POW’s during the Second World War. These soldiers seem more concerned with trying to flee the rule of their Nazi German counterparts then winning a game of Soccer.

And although there is a fairly decent story that underlies the film itself, it could do so much better with the cast involved. Considering it has the likes of Pele, who for some is considered the world’s greatest ever Soccer player and a litany of other star players it all seems a bit contrived.

The fact that this is a German POW camp which somehow has captured a Brazilian and an Argentinian is a little far-fetched and requires a heavy use of artistic license, at the same time how else can you crowbar in the likes of both Pele and Osvaldo Ardiles.

Also add the fact that it includes the lazy trope of how Americans can’t play Soccer, a role that is covered by Stallone and it is further proof should you need it, that the world’s most popular sport rarely transfers to success in the box office.

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