The movie Youngblood, with the ever-so-sexy Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze, is one of the few 80’s sports films that I have seen that hasn’t been completely cheesy. Yes, it can be unrealistic at times, but overall it is a good movie with a strong plot that doesn’t have too many cheesy undertones. It it set in Canada, where Rob Lowe’s character Dean Youngblood is sent to try out for the Mustangs ice hockey team. He makes the team, but is immediately made fun of for not fighting back when a big bully on the ice pushes him down and hits him with his stick. This sets the stage for the rest of the film, because Youngblood is so amazing at hockey, what he needs to focus on is learning how to stand up for himself and how to fight. This kid really can’t catch a break, though, so it’s no wonder he’s not up for fighting back. During his try outs, he gets sacked by a huge guy, which makes everyone question how manly Youngblood is. Then, during his first night out with the team, they get him drunk so he plays awful at practice the next day, getting him in trouble with the coach. They also gang up on him and shave his balls, which is apparently an “initiation process”. And if that wasn’t enough, the older woman who boards the Mustang team comes onto him, also “initiating” him into the team in her own way. Of course, that last one he probably didn’t mind as much. All in all, the entire movie Youngblood has many opportunities to show people he’s not so much as a push over, but he really only proves it in the end, when he trains as a fighter and defeats the bully that pushed him down in the beginning. Hockey is really just a way to lead into the bigger problem: what player can fist fight the best.
Also, usually with sports movies, there is an annoying love interest that gets in the way of the sport, and the movie goes down hill because it’s lost it’s main and most intriguing plot line, the sport, and it’s gone into an awful love tug-of-war between the main player and his significant other. However, I really didn’t mind the intimate relationship between Dean Youngblood and his coach’s daughter, Jessie, played by Cynthia Gibb. Their relationship was believable, and it was more of a side story to the hockey plot rather than intertwining with it. It also helped Jessie’s case that she looked like Emma Watson, who is always a good catch.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. So what if it had Robe Lowe shirtless for parts of it? It truly surprised me, starting off with a great 80’s jam with Rob Lowe skating in a misty ice rink, kind of like when Kevin Bacon had his emo-dance session in the empty warehouse. Despite how much actual fighting they do during hockey – if we’re basing it off just this movie, then I’m appalled that not all players are injured or have more broken teeth – it was an interesting movie with a great cast of actors.