Located in the US Rust Belt, Charlestown is home of the hapless Chiefs, a losing Federal League hockey team whose games are poorly attended. To make money, the team's unknown owner makes its manager, Joe McGrath, do cheesy publicity much to the players' chagrin. Rumors abound among the players that if the local mill closes, the team will fold. Just before the official announcement is made, the team's aging player/coach, Reggie Dunlop, does get wind that the mill is indeed closing and that this season will be the team's last. Beyond efforts to reconcile with his wife Francine, who loves Reggie but doesn't love his career, Reggie begins to focus on how to renew interest in the team for a possible sale as he knows if the team folds, his hockey career is over. Without telling anyone of his plan, he begins a rumor that the owner is negotiating a sale with a city in Florida. He also decides that "goon" hockey - most especially using the untapped talents of the recently acquired childlike ... Written by
One of the knocks that has always been given to Paul Newman was that he was not right for comedy. When you're talking about stuff like A New Kind of Love or Rally Round the Flag Boys that's probably true. But Slapshot shows that what Paul Newman needed to be good for comedy was something not quite so sophisticated.
Slapshot ain't Oscar Wilde, but it's not quite to the level of the Police Academy movies. It's just right for Paul Newman as the veteran player/coach with a team of misfits from one of hockey's minor leagues who's forever looking for a break from the majors.
The Charlestown Chiefs who seem to be the hockey equivalent of the New York Mets are having a perennial losing season. The town itself is one flush away from despondency with a mill that was the main employer in the town shutting down. That means the paltry attendance the Chiefs already have will diminish more. It's an uncertain future.
So with nothing to lose, Newman's boys turn the sport into a hockey facsimile of the World Wrestling Federation. In no other sport are fights among the players so accepted. But Newman ratchets it up to an exponential level.
And his team actually starts to win and the Charlestown Chiefs become a gate attraction.
There's a lot more to the resolution of the team's problems, but that championship game is unforgettable.
All Hail the Brothers Hanson.
21 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?