Stephen Baldwin, who seems like the goofiest of the many Baldwin brothers, has proven himself to be a good actor in the past (see "The Usual Suspects"), but often demonstrates an utterly terrible taste in projects, finding himself mixed-up in all manner of bad comedies (although his performance as Barney Rubble in the "Flinstones" sequel was inspired) and straight-to-video actioners. "Slap Shot 2", while not a necessary picture or one that was as bad as I'd thought it would be, is certainly not worthwhile viewing, either.
Baldwin plays Sean Linden, the coach/captain of the Charlestown Chiefs, a minor league hockey outfit that's not doing particularly well. Yet, the team and the film proceed forth and find themselves in the middle of a lot of sports-movie cliches. Sean finds out that the team is being moved into a new town and a new league, but the players remain pleased that their dreams of playing NHL hockey may be brighter.
Things don't go that way. The Chiefs find out that they're essentially meant to still be the losers, put up against media mogul Dean Claremont (Gary Busey)'s team of aces. That, and the team now finds themselves with a woman coach (Jessica Steen). Obviously, the teammates are going to be irritated with their new place in life and find a way to get around the players that are considerably more skilled then they are. No bonus points for guessing whether or not the Baldwin and Steen characters will finally fall for one another.
While it's doubtful that this could have become the hockey version of the Farrelly Brothers' "Kingpin", it doesn't even get halfway there. The jokes - I'm not sure if that's what some of the lines were meant to be, even - are really dismal. I certainly don't mind foul language, but the film throws it out unnecessarily and it gets tiresome. The performances aren't very good, either. Baldwin - who, as previously mentioned, can be funny - is dull; Steen, who played tough well in "Armageddon", seems to realize the kind of material she's dealing with and none of the supporting members are enjoyable or funny, either. Most of the characters, as written, are either mean or dim-witted. None of the actors even seem as if they're having fun. I certainly wasn't demanding greatness from a film like this, but "Slap Shot 2" is a definite dissapointment.
VIDEO: Universal presents "Slap Shot 2" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Considering the direct-to-video film's small budget, the look of the picture is not great; sharpness and detail are fair and a good deal of the film looks somewhat dark. Some other faults were visible on occasion - slight pixelation was seen as were some print flaws (a couple marks, a couple of speckles). Colors could also appear a bit heavy and slightly smeared. It's a decent looking production, but the presentation on this DVD is a bit off at times.
SOUND: Surprising for a direct-to-vid presentation, the film is presented in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. The film's audio, however, is nothing out of the ordinary for a comedy. In other words, the surrounds remain completely silent for the majority of the film, with only some minor participation from the rear speakers for the music and some sounds at the hockey games. The score remained fairly full and dynamic sounding, while dialogue remained crisp and clear.
MENUS: Menus are not animated, but sounds from the movie play in the background.
EXTRAS: A short "making-of" featurette, a quick interview with the Hanson brothers and production notes/trailer.
Final Thoughts: "Slap Shot 2"'s only real goal was simply to be funny - I don't think it ever achieved that once during 104 long minutes. Universal's DVD edition offers the film with fairly good audio/video quality and minimal supplements. Still, I wouldn't even recommend a rental.