Director : Andrew Morahan
Stars : JJ Feild, Leo Gregory, Kuno Becker
The heroes compete on the greatest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup Finals.
Well that’s a top synopsis right there, totally worth stealing from IMDb. Anyway, I must state right now that I’ll be using the term football rather than soccer for this review because I’m English and the word soccer makes me want to sneeze blood at pictures of Andy Townsend, and I have nothing against Andy Townsend. Soccer’s played by girls, sexy American girls. The ones that haunt my dreams and taunt me as they knock the ball through my legs and run away far into the distance, and at some point I lose my shorts, and there’s laughter, and then there’s crying, and I end up in a coffin with spiders crawling all over me until I eventually wake up sweating and upset. So yeah, welcome to my review of “Goal! III : Taking on the World”.
Right then, what happened in Goal!’s I and II? Well, our main protagonist is a young Mexican chap, Santiago Munez (Becker), that moves to England to fulfill his dreams of becoming a top footballer. After a successful spell at Newcastle United, he moves to Real Madrid where he makes an instant impact and plays a major part in winning the Champion’s League with David Beckham scoring the winner. As Munez celebrates with his best friend and team mate Gavin Harris, we’re promised that this fairytale rise from poverty to stardom will be continued in “Goal! III”.
At this point I should say I’m not a big fan of the first two films in the trilogy. The cheesiness was unbearable at times, and as a football fan, I could never make my brain believe that any of this was happening, as I know it didn’t because I’m watching footage of games I’d previously seen in real life, and I knew the outcome didn’t involve a fictional Mexican (who by the way, in the context of the film is a decent player, but you could always tell the actor was pretty rubbish at football) coming on and scoring. Honestly, the only reason I watched these films was because I got told I needed to see “Goal! III”, that I wouldn’t believe my eyes, and that I had to watch the first two to really appreciate it.
There were some entertaining parts in the first two films though, especially those that involved top footballers such as Alan Shearer, David Beckham and half the Real Madrid squad showing off their amateur acting chops, and besides the fact that I didn’t love these films, they did gain a decent sized fan base and “Goal! III” was highly anticipated, especially as the second film ended on a cliffhanger as Munez’s girlfriend, Roz played by the delightful Anna Friel, had left him because he’d kissed another girl, but it turned out that she was pregnant. Other characters from these films that also needed closure included Gavin Harris, who I’ve already mentioned, Munez’s agent Glen Foy, Munez’s long lost mother Rosa and his mischievous younger brother who he’d just met for the first time, sleazy football agent Barry Rankin (played by the coolest man on Earth, Sean Pertwee), and his Real Madrid manager Rudi (played by top blind samurai Rutger Hauer).
I really wasn’t expecting to be five paragraphs into this review without mentioning the midget vampire fetish scene. I suppose that’s something to look forward to..
The fact that these films are based on a trilogy of books also kind of makes the third “Goal!” film more anticipated as it’s the final installment, and fans who had read the books would surely want to see how it unfolds on screen. So whether they read the books or not, were fans of the series happy with the final film in the trilogy? No.. Oh my Moses were they disappointed. No honestly, every single fan of the first two films hated it!
As I’m sure most of you would agree, the third installment of any franchise is usually the weakest, but seriously, this makes “Halloween III : Season of the Witch” seem like a direct sequel to “Halloween II” in comparison, it makes the CGI in “Jaws 3D” look impressive, and it makes the decision to add a robotic slave to the Balboa home in “Rocky III” seem plausible. (I’ve just realised that the robot in fact appears in Rocky IV, please pretend I mentioned Hulk Hogan’s portrayal of Thunderlips instead.) “Goal! III” is one of those films that after watching it makes you want to find out what exactly happened. What went wrong? Who directed it, was it Zombie Lake’s Jean Rollin? Well no, it was a guy called Andrew Morahan who’s mostly known for making music documentaries. It just seems that the people behind the trilogy couldn’t be bothered anymore, and churned out this straight to video release simply to wash their hands of it.
So what happened to the characters from the first two films, especially Munez and the pregnant Roz, did she ever take him back? Well no. This film is nothing to do with any of that stuff that went on before, Munez is in this, he’s third billed, but really, there’s no point for him to be in it other than to include this as part of the Goal! franchise. There is one scene that lasts a few seconds halfway through where Munez alludes to the fact that his girlfriend left him and that’s all we get. The rest of the characters I previously mentioned don’t get so much as a name check. This film isn’t even about Munez, it’s about two English players called Liam Adams (Feild) and Charlie Braithwaite (Gregory), and Munez just seems to tag along.
So really, there’s not much hope for Goal! III in the rest of this review is there? It’s an absolute travesty what the makers have done here and surely there’s nothing good to be taken from it. Wrong! This film is amazingly bad to the point of hilarity. The first thing we see is a much fatter Munez in front of the lowest quality green screen action I’ve seen.. possibly ever (I’m sure Fadades had something to do with this somewhere down the line.) and it’s spliced with stock footage from the 2006 world cup in Germany. Then we’re introduced to Adams and Braithwaite and it’s as if we’re supposed to just accept straight away that these are the stars of the film now. No explanation, this is just happening. Nick Moran also makes an appearance as Adams’ agent, or just as Nick Moran because at no real point does he actually try during this performance, and when you see him in such films as “13 Eerie” where he almost steals the show with his versatile acting ability, you kind of wonder if he knows that he’s taking part in something that a lot of people would consider to be sacrilege.
So at some point early on, for whatever reason, Braithwaite, who’s meant to be preparing for a world cup, bags a role in some film he knows nothing about which is being filmed in an unnamed stereotypically poor European country that he just turns up to blind and of course, Adams and Munez come along for the ride. Remember, Munez plays for Mexico, what’s he even doing with these two people at this point? Anyway, this is where the Migdet Vampire fetish bondage aspect comes in because well, that’s what Charlie’s film turns out to be about (hey, at least it wasn’t snuff). Yeah, Goal! III wasn’t weird enough. Maybe the director realised the audience might be slightly non plussed by the total butchering of the series, and he thought he’d throw in this little sub plot to simply confuse us. I think it worked to an extent. So Braithwaite meets a girl on set, Sophia, who he hooks up with and she ends up going to the world cup with him.
Oh wait, I need to back up a bit. Before the world cup starts, disaster strikes as on the way back from filming, our trio and Sophia are involved in a car crash. Adams and Sophia escape with minor scrapes, Braithwaite suffers concussion, and Munez breaks his leg thus ending his world cup dream and well, any part he had to play in this film. Apart from the scene where he mentions Anna Friel leaving him in passing, and that he’s signed for Tottenham from Real Madrid (even though he has a broken leg), all he does is sit in the stands and watch England play. No more thoughts of Mexico at all.
So what about Adams and Braithwaite, how do they fare? Well, to cut a long story short, Adams finds out he’s got a child to an ex lover, Braithwaite proposes to Sophia, they both have a successful world cup campaign until Braithwaite drops dead from the injuries he suffered in the crash, and Adams goes on to miss a penalty against Portugal in a laughable stock footage riddled scene, thus subjecting England to an early exit from the competition. After this however, Adams takes off his England shirt to reveal another underneath that commemorates his deceased friend. This could have been done a lot better, say if the green screen shots weren’t so badly executed and the stock footage of the other (real) players didn’t look so out of place. Basically, it was one of the funniest scenes in the film.
Hey, it’s not all doom and gloom however as we also follow around four England fans that add comic relief to proceedings as they get up to all kinds of whacky antics on their travels. Wow, these characters are random. They even turn up at Braithwaite’s funeral, even though none of the other (real) players do. Surely they had some stock footage of the real players in suits or something they could have spliced in, but no. It just seems that Adams and Munez are the only ones that cared. I have to say as well, the funeral happened really quickly, like in between games, and Adams had time to go over to England to attend the funeral then head back to Germany for the next one. Sorry, but this just strikes me as odd, and would a manager pick a player who’s just attended the funeral of his best frie… Oh what am I doing? I’m thinking too hard about Goal! III, a film that opens up with vampire midgets dressed in bondage gear..
..So I think that’s where I’ll end this review before it turns into a novel. Is this even a review? I don’t know. Well here’s the part where I tell you whether I recommend it or not. Of course I do, and like my friend said to me, sit through the first two to really appreciate this train wreck. If you do enjoy the first two though, this will certainly leave you frustrated, so go in knowing that this is really it’s own film, in it’s own right, and with a tenth of the budget. If like me, you view this only as a “so bad it’s good” film and have no other expectations, then you should pretty much enjoy it. Or maybe not, I might be a bit weird to be fair. Cheers.