Youngblood (1986)

Movie Title: Youngblood

Year Released: 1986

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 50min

Genre: Sports, Drama

Director: Peter Markle

Writer: Peter Markle, John Whitman

Starring: Rob Lowe, Cynthia Gibb, Ed Lauter, Patrick Swayze, Eric Nesterenko, Jim Youngs, Keanu Reeves, George Finn

Review: Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) is an exceptionally skilled young ice hockey player trying to make a name in the Canadian Junior Hockey circuit and impress scouts from the National Hockey League. However, he becomes bullied by goon Carl Racki (George Finn), a dirty player who has injured Dean's teammate and friend, Derek (Patrick Swayze). After Dean returns to his childhood home deflated, his father (Eric Nesterenko) tries to toughen up the hockey prodigy for a rematch with Racki.

Youngblood is an underrated sports movie that has a lot of re-watch value with it's cast of young characters that inevitably became household names. This movie is fun to watch, with Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Keanu Reeves all playing on the same hockey team before really hitting it big in Hollywood. It's not a great film by any stretch, with a simple plot and lacking a storyline with some depth in relation to other mainstays in the pantheon of classic sports films. Youngblood comes across as a poor man's Slap Shot, with fighting being a central theme. With that said, this is fast-paced, to the point, and packed with 80's cheesiness. There's no shortage of action, and a revenge story that culminates with a good old-fashioned donnybrook. The entertainment value here is exceptional, and one might think of this as a variation of Rocky IV on skates...sans the communism. If you're a fan of sports films or hockey films, or simply have a taste of nostalgia for some early Lowe, Swayze, or Reeves, then you'll surely enjoy this film!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Keanu Reeves had hockey experience upon being cast, having been MVP and nicknamed "The Wall" for his goaltending capabilities at De La Salle's college team in Toronto, Ontario. Patrick Swayze had been trained as a figure skater, but never played hockey, and Rob Lowe had to be taught to ice skate before filming began. Eric Nesterenko (Blane Youngblood, Dean's father) was a former professional hockey player, who played over 1,000 NHL games and won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1961.


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