Starring: Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Cynthia Gibb, Ed Lauter, George Finn , Fionnula Flanagan, Eric Nesterenko, Jim Youngs, Keanu Reeves
Written By: Peter Markle, John Whitman
Directed By: Peter Markle
Studio: Kino Lorber
Buy On Amazon.com
One of my favorite hockey movies is on Blu-Ray (not sure if this is the first time or not) but it’s the first time I watched it in a high-def format. The movie still holds up as one of the better hockey movies out there.
The movie is about farmboy Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) from rural upstate New York, who tries out for the Hamilton Mustangs up in Ontario. His father doesn’t want him to, and his older brother encourages it because he needs to try it out for himself. Dean makes the team after battling out for a spot with enforcer thug Carl Racki (George Finn). Youngblood becomes friends with Derek Sutton (Patrick Swayze) and becomes a mentor for him as he starts to make a name for himself in junior hockey. When a vicious attack of a player happens on the ice, Youngblood contemplates what to do next: continue being a hockey player or go back to the farm life.
It’s been a long time since seeing Youngblood. I probably saw it last on DVD or cable, but it was a movie I would watch at least once a year for many years. I probably saw it more than that when it used to play on cable. As a die hard hockey fan, this is still one of my favorite hockey movies. Despite it being in the 80s and at times, a little dated, it’s still very good and what you expect out of a hockey movie.
The hockey scenes is what I liked most about it. Plus, the chemistry Rob Lowe between Patrick Swayze was great, and all the sport movie stuff that you look for in a movie is there. New fish in a new pond kind of storyline, overcoming pushback from his teammates and other teams, facing a scary moment and leaving, but then coming back to win it for the team. What I like about Youngblood is it just wasn’t about beating a team for the big game, it was about getting revenge for a fellow player. Of course it’s not the most important thing in the world but was definitely satisfying seeing Racki get his finally in the end.
It’s funny to see how hockey was back then, or at least with junior hockey. The way Markel shot it made it seem so gritty and dark. I do remember hockey arenas in the 80s being that dark and smokey. It’s amusing to see how players played back then, when there was a fight the entire benched cleared. Players took a lot of blatant penalties, using their sticks as a spear or bat before they fought. You can’t do that shit now. You couldn’t do that stuff back when I played hockey in the 90s either. I did golf swing my stick at a player’s leg once, and only got two minutes for it. Ahh hockey, gotta love it.
I didn’t like as much as the non-hockey stuff but there were some funny scenes. Youngblood dating the coach’s daughter (Cynthia Gibb) was good though, and made for an interesting dynamic between player & coach. Other parts of the movie that I like was probably how realistic some of this stuff was back then. Trying to make a team, and it’s the only thing you know how to do. I’m sure veteran players do some type of hazing to other younger players. I’m not sure if shaving someone’s balls is something you can get away with this current climate though. But honestly, even back then I was wondering why they did it. Like, I don’t want to look at my fellow teammate’s junk and especially up close & personal either after they just skated for an hour haha.
The Blu-Ray has new audio commentary with the director and writer Peter Markle. I was going back and forth listening to it because I was interested in hearing what he had to say for certain scenes. I want to go back one day to listen to it from start to finish because I thought it was interesting. The blu-ray itself looked great for an 80s movie. There is some noticeable noise to the video at certain parts but nothing too bad. This is certainly the best I’ve seen the movie to date.
Youngblood is still one of my favorite movies about hockey, and it even has a great cast. Sigh, I miss Patrick Swayze; he was so great back then. It’s funny to see a young Keanu Reeves playing the goalie in this too. There’s even some professional hockey players in the movie as well. I don’t think this movie is up there with say, Slapshot, but it’s still an entertaining movie that I still find myself enjoying after all these years watching it.
New audio commentary with Peter Markle
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Bottom Line: Still one of my favorite hockey movies
Running Time: 110 mins