Expect the Unexpected

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Escape to Victory: Say it ain’t so

How football (soccer) won the war...right.

How football (soccer) won the war…right.

In 1981, I paid $7 to watch the film Victory in a Boston movie theater. I still want my money back.

Being a film buff, it’s hard to name my all-time favorite film (It might be The Third Man, not sure), but it’s real easy to name my least favorite film of all time. That would be Victory, a far-fetched dud starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine. The plot is about a group of Allied prisoners of war in Germany who play an exhibition football (soccer) game against a ruthless German team. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but let’s just say there may be an escape attempt involved. Wow, didn’t see that coming.

I went to see Victory (titled Escape to Victory in Europe) because at the time I would watch anything with Michael Caine in it. But unfortunately, Michael Caine was appearing in anything that paid him, letting his acting reputation go down the tubes. (See Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, The Swarm, Jaws 4: The Revenge, Blame it on Rio, and a sadly pointless remake of Sleuth, for example.)

Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine look like they are dressed for summer camp in Victory.

Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine look like they are dressed for summer camp in Victory.

Victory also starred film great Max Von Sydow and über cool soccer star Pelé, and it was directed by John Huston, so on paper it had some seriously good elements. Unfortunately, the script was beyond bad. The final soccer match and (spoiler alert?) subsequent escape was completely preposterous. Poor Pelé, when the Allies had an initial chance to escape, he convinces the team to stay and finish the soccer match, because, “We can win!”

So it was with considerable shock and awe to learn that because of the recent ratings success of  the World Cup, that Warner Brothers was in the process of producing a remake of Victory.

No, no, NO. Please do not do this. This film does NOT need to be remade. How about a soccer movie based on realistic events? Surely, there must be a writer or a couple thousand out there who can do that. Something fresh, original.

Don’t give soccer the boot.



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