(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we take a look at two belated sequels to a classic goon-filled sports movie from the 70s.)
I’m in Canada this week for a film festival, so when it came time to pick a DTV sequel to cover the only real choice was something Canadian. And what’s more Canadian than hockey? That’s not rhetorical, I really don’t know. I’m a tennis guy — it’s the only sport I can stomach playing or watching — so sports movies aren’t typically my scene, but there are plenty that deliver the goods alongside their on-the-field/court/rink antics. One example? 1977’s Slap Shot.
The film is ridiculously funny and even more crass, and while it wasn’t a big hit in theaters it’s only grown in cult-classic status in the decades since. Twenty-five years after its premiere the brain trust at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment decided it could be milked for some quick straight-to-DVD dollars and released two DTV sequels. The first is an attempt to ape the original’s R-rated fun, and the second? A PG-rated teen movie. That’s PG. It’s not even PG-13. Have the suits at Universal even seen Slap Shot?! Madness.
Keep reading for a look at Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002) and Slap Shot 3: The Junior League (2008).
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Arguably the most beloved, foul-mouthed, politically incorrect sports comedy of all time, 1977’s Slap Shot will see a second direct-to-DVD sequel released later this year. Starring Leslie Nielsen, this one focuses on a “junior league” hockey team, alongside the three actors known as the Hanson Brothers (above), who have milked their pseudo-fame in all three films. Make it four. Today, courtesy of YourMovieMaven, we have an update on Universal‘s planned theatrical remake of Slap Shot from screenwriter Peter Steinfeld (21, Analyze That, Be Cool)…
“Right now I’m finishing writing the re-make of the iconic hockey movie Slap Shot for Universal. I’ve never had so many people hate me for writing something they haven’t seen yet. It’s such a classic film and fans of the original feel like I’m grave-robbing or something. But I think the movie will be really fun and will capture what it’s like to play minor league hockey in 2008. We haven’t set cast yet…”
And I agree. This is a cherry on the sundae of suck. I’m sure we can look forward to remakes of Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke and The Hustler in the lovely future. Back in February, Steinfeld visited Johnstown, Pennsylvania where the original film took place. He hinted that the script would “adhere” to the ’77 film and its location but needed to, “reflect how the world has changed and how the town has changed in the last 31 years. There have been huge changes to hockey in that time.”
Movies have arguably changed more, just see Linklater’s neutered, wheelchair-accessorized remake of 1976’s The Bad News Bears or the asinine fuss over Tropic Thunder‘s Simple Jack. I highly doubt Universal’s Slap Shot redux will boast any lines this funny and filthy, and the American glee in getting away with murder was the, uh, point.