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Forever Strong

Genre: , ,

Cast: Gary Cole, Sean Faris, Arielle Kebbel, Julie Warner, Sean Astin, Neal McDonough

Director: Ryan Little

Rated: PG-13

Review By:
Tom Herrmann

Suny Purchase '11

"When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons and make super-lemons." -Clone High

Release Date: May 26th, 2009
Click to Buy on DVD or Bluray!
Overall Grade: B+

Forever Strong

Review By: Tom Herrmann

Click Here For Our VIDEO Interview with Sean Faris

Click Here For Our VIDEO Interview with Gary Cole

Click Here For Our Interview with Sean Faris

Click Here to Read the Theatrical Review!

Forever Strong

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Features Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B+

There is something about sports films that doesn't cross over into most genres. It is hard to say what it is, but somehow these movies all manage to make me care about sports. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am not a fan of sports at all really. It is the exact opposite for sports films though. The way they are built with dramatic music and the triumph of a team or individual always hits the right spot. From the Mighty Ducks all the way to Rocky, sports films cater to the young and old ranging from award winners to straight to video release.

Forever Strong is a rarity being an American film about rugby. It is about Rick Penning (Sean Faris), a flashy rugby player who has every intention of being the star of his team. Rick gets into trouble after receiving his second DUI and injuring his girlfriend in the process and is sent to a juvenile detention center. At first, Rick hates the center, but then he is given the chance to play rugby for his rival team, Highland, in exchange for good reports to the judge and possible early release. At first, Rick takes this opportunity to try to steal plays, but he soon becomes captivated by their way of living and playing.

This really is a high-end sports film that any fan of the genre should make time to watch. Don't take this as too big a compliment, though. The film is great, but it isn't Remember the Titans or anything. It doesn't go above and beyond what's expected, but it meets it fairly well. The biggest issue with the movie is probably how over-dramatized some of it is. Also, when Sean Faris cries, it didn't do anything for me. The scene is sad but his crying was worse.

That aside, we get the usual sports film stuff. There is some action on and off the field, there are some great laughs and loveable characters, and a bit of a love side-story, but that is extremely small in relation to everything else. It is odd how well it is done despite being very ordinary. Again, this film doesn't go above and beyond, but all of the clichés don't come off as annoying. It is hard to figure out how, but even though the movie is somewhat predictable, it manages to stay fresh the whole way through.

The special features seem to be anything but standard though. The Making of Forever Strong has interviews with both actors in the film and the real life Larry Gelwix, coach of the Highland

rugby teem. The actors give excellent interviews about the film, which is somewhat rare in these features. Gelwix gives some information about both the filming of the movie and the true events and team traditions the film was based on. It was surprising to hear how much of the film was based on actual events; it made watching the movie a second time that much more enjoyable. Gelwix was also one of the most modest interviewees I have ever seen. He came across as a very genuine person who felt very flattered that there was a movie being made bout his coaching techniques.

Life Lessons with Coach Gelwix and The Haka were unique features. Life Lessons runs about a half hour and only consists of Gelwix taking about the lessons he teaches his team. It starts off very interesting, but after about five minutes of watching him talk it just gets very boring. It is something worth watching if you want some out-of-context advice, but it is weird. The same can be said about The Haka, which gives the background of the chant that the team performed before the game. The only reason that it is better than Life Lessons is because it is only a few minutes.

The DVD has the usual set of trailers, but what was really interesting were the viral videos. A lot of movies use the internet as a means of advertisement, but I have never seen one with videos like these. They all ran around fifteen seconds and would start with people playing a sport other than rugby. In the middle of everything a rugby player would run in and tackle someone. After that, the words "" would flash on the screen. It is a great marketing campaign being that YouTube is becoming a better source for advertisement than commercials.

Forever Strong is definitely something to pick up if you haven't seen it already. Any fan of sports films will love it, and rugby players will surely be happy with an American movie finally depicting their sport of choice. It isn't the most innovative film, but it will keep you entertained for its duration and give those unfamiliar with rugby a new respect for the game.

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Features Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B+

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