Second Helpings of Bombay Ducks
So "The Mighty Ducks" was a movie built around sporting movie cliches, it didn't have an ounce of originality but it worked, it worked so well that 2 years later came the first sequel "D2: The Mighty Ducks". In many ways "D2: The Mighty Ducks" is no different to the first movie, things have moved on when it comes to coach Gordon Bombay and the team, but once more we have an underdog story with more lessons in life for one and all. It makes "D2: The Mighty Ducks" as obvious as the first movie but still kind of fun, especially for younger audiences. Although all the jingoistic flag waving as we follow Team USA at the Junior Goodwill Games take on the evil might of an Icelandic hockey team is a bit too much.
Having coached the Ducks to the pee-wee championship, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez - Judgment Night) finds himself on the verge of living his dream having given up his career as a lawyer and playing minor league hockey. But as it looks like he will be drafted into the NHL an injury robs him of his dream and finds himself back home with no desire to be a lawyer again. With coaching Pee-wee hockey not paying enough Bombay is surprised when he is offered the job of coaching Team USA at the Junior Goodwill Games. With the Ducks reformed and a few new members added they head off to California in search of glory. But the luxuries which the team sponsors lavish on Bombay turn his head and that of the teams causing them not only to be on the cusp of being knocked out but also forgetting why they play Hockey in the first place.
You have to laugh as within the first 10 minutes we are forced to endure a series of scenes which tell us what has happened in the year's in-between the two movies. So we learn that Bombay having gone to play in the minor hockey league and on the verge of living his dream of playing in the NHL only to be robbed by an injury. We also learn that Hans has returned to his Mother land and his brother Jan now runs the hockey shop. Whilst you don't expect a great storyline the way these elements are forced upon us is so heavy handed it is painful.
Once the setup is done with we learn that Bombay wants to coach Hockey but it doesn't pay enough, but opportunity comes his way when he is offered the well paid job of managing Team USA at the Junior Goodwill Games. What basically follows is Bombay getting his head turned by the lucrative world he enters with sponsorship deals whilst at the same time issues causing the mighty Ducks, now Team USA to be not so mighty. What is for sure is that subtlety goes out of the window with "D2: The Mighty Ducks" as the lessons about what is important are forced down are throats. It's still a good lesson which "D2: The Mighty Ducks" tries to deliver but like everything it is done a little too heavy handedly. And whilst I am sure all the patriotism of Team USA beating the evil Vikings from Iceland will be uplifting for some it ends up cheapening the whole thing.
But once again and behind all this heavy handedness is a fun movie with plenty of humour which will appeal to younger audiences. There are countless set piece scenes from the team getting back together, the introduction of the new oddball players through to moments of slapstick which work at a simple level. But the pleasantness which made "The Mighty Ducks" work for a more adult audience disappears and fails to fully entertain those finding themselves watching this with children.
Once more Emilio Estevez finds himself at the centre of the movie but where he made the first movie work with an energy he almost seems like he's on auto pilot through "D2: The Mighty Ducks". He delivers the laughs and seems to have fun turning Gordon Bombay into an almost Gordon Gekko like character with his slicked back hair and single minded win ethics but it lacks life. And that is the same for all those young actors who return for another outing, they just seem to be going through the motions as do the various new actors who appear. Maybe I expected too much but it just feels like all the cast are there for a pay cheque rather than they actually believed that the sequel would be a good movie.
What this all boils down to is that "D2: The Mighty Ducks" is still an entertaining movie and I have no doubt that younger audiences will enjoy all the comedy which flows through out. But unfortunately it all feels a little too heavy handed as the life lesson is forced down are throats to a background of flag waving jingoism.