A not-so-typical football movie made in 2000 starring Keanu Reeves.A rag-tag group of semi-pro and amateur football players are collected by an esoteric former coach for one last shot at the big time. Thanks to a football strike by dozens of pro players, and in some cases (Washington, notably, the team of focus in the movie) entire teams, scabs are hired to keep the team's standings intact 'till the end of the season... they turn out to be even more awesome than the actual team they're replacing.It's nasty out there...
This film provides examples of:
All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Shane falls for the gorgeous head cheerleader for the Sentinels but in his defense, she's sweet, funny, and probably knows more about football than he does...even if she does drive like a maniac.
She's a cheerleader who owns a sports bar. That has to be a Geeky Turn-On for sports fans.
Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: After the Bar Brawl, the coach tells the team that if anything like it happens again, there will be no place on the team for any of them...but for the record, he wishes he was there to see Martel get his ass kicked.
Bad Ass: Danny Bateman is an utter monster on the field, who plows through blockers like they're not even there. It's not much of a surprise when his introduction lists him as Gulf War veteran with a Purple Heart. His day job is shown in his intro too; He's a SWAT officer.
Badass Boast: On the final play of the game, Andre Jackson lets the other team know how it's all going to end.
Bash Brothers: Jamal and Andre Jackson, Shane's guards. Their dayjob is working as bodyguards for rapper ODB. They, uh, kind of let a mob of fans get ahold of him, when they get the phonecall to play football.
In fact, it's mentioned that they used to be in pro ball together, but once one of them was traded to another team, neither performed up to par. Apparently, they only really kick ass when they're on the field together.
Battle Cry: Jumbo, the Japanese Sumo wrestler turned offensive tackle has a good one.
It approximates into something similar to 'who wants some?'
Curse Cut Short: A news clip is shown of Martel in the locker room trying to "explain" the Sentinel's strike when an angry team member walks up and says: "Do you know how much insurance costs on a Ferrari, motherf—"
Distracted by the Sexy: Because the Sentinels' cheerleaders are almost all strippers, during their second game, the cheerleading squad breaks into an incredibly sexy and over the top dance sequence, which distracts the opposing team, and the referee, and results in the entire team being called for a penalty.
Drives Like Crazy: Annabelle, as Shane once has the misfortune of learning when she drives him back to his boat.
Expy: With his fedora and the way he holds his rolled up play sheet on the field, McGinty bears more than a striking resemblance to Bear Bryant.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: One of Martel's teammates makes the mistake of calling Jamal (One of Shane's guards) a 'Son of a Bitch'. Jamal takes a moment to absorb the comment, then calmly shoots out the driver's-side window of Martel's sportscar.
Fake Shemp: Probably alot during the football sequences, since they're all wearing pads and helmets, but most egregiously when they're in prison and Keanu has his hat on and pulled really low so you can't see his face.
Fore Shadowing: Coach McGinty tells Falco, after the latter changes a play to a hand-off when he expects a blitz coming, thus losing the game, that 'winners always want the ball when the game is on the line'. In the final minute of the last game of the movie, we get this exchange;
Indy Ploy: More than a few plays boil down to this and luck.
Like Shane's reaction to the same player tackling him over and over; Let the guy through the defending line, then drill him in the face with the football. It works.
Informed Ability: Martel is mentioned several times to be a very good quarterback, but hasn't brought the Sentinels to the playoffs in 7 years and shows nothing during the film that would agree with the comments.
The Sentinels beating a Dallas team whose entire team has crossed the picket line is true. The 1987 Redskins Replacements actually beat a Dallas team that had more than 20 "real professional" players, including starting quarterback Danny White, defensive tackle Randy White and running back Tony Dorsett.
The multi-fumble play was also based on real life. In another shocker, Madden was COACHING one of the teams involved with said play at the time it happened.
Redemption Quest: This happens to Shane Falco. Falco had notoriously choked in the final game of his college career, and performed miserably in his little time as a pro, so this last chance at the game represents a chance for him to erase that image.
Rousing Speech: McGinty busts out one of these before the beginning of the second half of the final game of the movie;
McGinty: "Listen up! This time tomorrow... The strike will be officially over. Now Dallas has made a big mistake out there tonight; They haven't been afraid of you. And they should be, because you have a powerful weapon working for you; There is no tomorrow for you. And that makes you all very. Dangerous. People!"
Scary Black Man: Earl Wilkinson, the player on loan from a prison. He's a good guy and a great football player, but his record and the fact that he's a Perpetual Frowner spook even one of the coaches.
Coach: Well, there's no use standing here alone...outside of screaming distance...(walks very quickly towards the stadium with Wilkinson trailing behind him)
Shown Their Work: Most of the football scenes are very accurate and includes a recreation of "The Immaculate Deception" or "Holy Roller" play.
"Shut Up" Kiss: When he comes out to the field for the second half of the final game, Shane heads right over to Annabelle, listens to her give football advice for a few seconds, then makes good use of this trope.
John Madden: "He seems to be neckin' with that cheerleader! That's what he's doin'!"
Pat Summerall: "You know, players are not supposed to be fraternizing with the cheerleaders."
John Madden: "Yeah, but what are they gonna do, Pat? Fire him?"
So Bad, It's Good: Danny (Cop) and Earl's (Convict) reaction to Shane's 'can't we all just get along?' interrupting their argument in jail.
Taking A Third Option: In the final game, Nigel, the team's kicker, reveals on the last play that he's going to lose his bar to some Mafia guys because he owes them money from betting at the track. They're forcing him to blow the kick to make up for it. Shane can either let Nigel blow the kick, and lose the game, or try and get a replacement (a replacement replacement?) kicker before the timeout runs out. He decides on a third option in a dramatic snap-cut. He takes the ball and runs, flattening several opposing players blocking his path. It works, and then it doesn't.
Theme Music Power-Up: Ostensibly, Falco's return for the final game of the movie cues this, as the theme for pretty much any every sports movie kicks up as he runs onto the field.