Footballer Santiago Munez's story continues in this fast-paced,
action-packed movie. Newcastle United's favourite player reaches
superstardom - and every footballer's dream - when he's transferred
to Real Madrid to play in the UEFA European Champions League
alongside David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Guti and Iker
Casillas. As Santiago basks in the glory, acclaim and money,
he discovers the ugly face of success - one that threatens
to destroy everything he's worked for and everyone he loves.
Goal movie brought plenty of cheers to football fans, who
coming of a decent movie about the beloved Beautiful Game.
And it didn't disappoint, with a likable hero in Santiago
Munez (Kuno Becker) in a rags to riches story, nifty footwork
and camerawork, locales familiar to English Premier League
fans, the seamless combination of real world match footage
with fictional shots taken on match days, and access to seldom
seen areas in and around the stadiums.
With the first movie centered on the domestic football league
following Newcastle's season, the sequel brings us to the
Spanish La Liga, and firmly the spotlight of matches put on
Europe's Champions League games. Given that this sequel is
delayed, you'd still get to see Real Madrid's ex-galacticos
like Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo,
besides mainstayers like Iker Caillas and Raul Gonzalez, amongst
others (see if you can spot McManaman!)
In a player swap deal with Michael Owen, we see Munez head
to Real Madrid, in
probably almost every footballer's dream to play for one of
the biggest clubs in the world. And of course with hard nosed
coach Rudi Van Der Merwe (Rutger Hauer) at the helm, our new
recruit has to prove his worth before being handed some first
team duties. But good friend and ex-Newcastle player Gavin
Harris (Alessandro Nivola) is on hand at the club (reference
the first movie shall we) to provide Munez some opportunity
for action, especially when Harris is running afoul with Rudi
for his lost form.
The football sequences here are rather straightforward, and
more of the same we saw in the first movie, save for some
spectacular, probably CG-ed movies like the volleys, overhead
kicks and diving headers. The number of matches being featured
too is much less, as the story wanted to focus on our player's
life outside of football.
You know, by putting all the press reports that you read day
in day out of boozing,
incessant partying, easy models who don't bat an eyelid looking
to get between the sheets with the players, flashy sports
cars, designer togs, mansions with numerous rooms, and the
likes. Munez lives the dream in material wealth, although
this starts to get into his head and takes a toil with his
relationships, especially with girlfriend Roz (Anna Friel).
There are numerous subplots put into Goal 2, but most times
they are superficially touched upon for the sole purpose of
covering the ground, and then forgotten conveniently, like
the paparazzi photo-journalist, and various incidents on and
off the pitch.
What I thought slowed the movie down further, was the injection
of Munez's typical stepbrother brat from hell, and mother,
who were conspicuously absent in the first movie, then reintroduced
here just to amplify the moments that try to touch the heart
(like in the first movie with the dad and grandmother), but
one without which I feel would not make much of a difference.
Couple this family
reunion-reconciliation of sorts, together with his struggles
with injury and
attempts to shake off the "super-sub" tag, Munez
has his hands full.
While the other real life players do not have much speaking
lines (or none at all),
you can't help but to feel both Kuno Becker and Alessandro
Nivola being fish out of water in the Real Madrid dressing
room, where either the charismatic players will undoubtedly
get the audience attention with their antics or camaraderie
which shines through. The movie too seemed to like David Beckham,
given plenty of scenes, befitting probably of his real last
hurrah at the club before having left them this summer.
So the scoreline at the end, well, it's actually living in
the dream. Given that the
ending is one of the technical worst that can happen, leading
straight to the third
installment, let's hope that the concluding chapter really
does see the light of
day. Not as polished as the first one with the novelty factor
wearing off, but let's
judge the series as a whole once the sequel screens. Excellent
again, coupled with the usual product placement shots for
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains a number of extras that
will please fans of the movie.
First, Exclusive Access: All Areas (12:17)
is the making of documentary, with
short cast and crew interviews, recounting how the famed Santiago
Bernabeu Stadium's dressing room was opened for the crew to
film in, and how Real Madrid allowed unprecedented access
to the actual players during filming. Goal 3 with its premise
of the World Cup was strongly hinted at. The gem here is the
dissection of how the
games featured were actually composed and filmed.
total of 9 Deleted Scenes (combined runtime of 9:20)
are included in the DVD, with some that are incomplete with
unpolished sound and special effects (see if you can spot
those green screen boundaries), or just containing the effects
placeholders. No commentary provided though to inform you
why they were removed, besides the obvious edited for run
3 minute Bloopers reel shows the usual missed
lines, accidental trips and such. No further insights here,
except to see how the actors fumble, smile, laugh and swear
when they screw up.
should load up the Audio Commentary with Director
Jaume Collet-Serra and Producer Mike Jefferies, as
they share valuable nuggets of football trivia
throughout the movie, highlighting some art imitating life
moments. They do explain technicalities about the shooting
of the movie, as well as reveal some of the moments outside
the story during their day to day production. Those interested
in how the games were shot should also pay attention to their
discussion about what actually happened, and which players
were replaced for our actors to take their place, but sometimes,
they do get quite pedestrian and drift into football commentary
about the game in progress.
Rounding up, trailers for Underdog, Wild Hogs and
auto-start when the disc is inserted and after the selection
of the menu language,
but thankfully can be skipped.
Visual transfer is pristine, though with the footballing moments,
you can just about make out the artificial CGI shots. With
the 5.1 audio set up, it is without a doubt an artificial
step closer to being inside the cauldron of the Bernabeu stadium
amongst the Real Madrid fans jeering (remember, Gavin Harris
is still "shite"), or
cheering, their football sons on.
by Stefan Shih