Escape to Victory sticks so rigidly to the formula that one of the joys of the film is cheering when something you just know will happen…happens… Every sports movie trope is in there, along with a few escape movie ones. If you have seen Mean Machine, Dodgeball, Bend it Like Beckham, basically any film which ends with some form of sporting event you’ll know exactly whats up. What makes Escape to Victory really special though is the absolutely wonkaloid casting. Whoever decided to put Stallone and Caine in a movie with a bunch of professional footballers was a genius. Pele shows up, he was the only one of the footballers I had actually heard of, him taking penalty shots at Stallone was particularly mind blowing. The fact that all the players had actually played football means that not only is the climactic game actually pretty well put together (read – vaguely believable) but their dressing room banter is as well. When I say all of the players, I am of course not including Stallone and Caine. For some reason they decided to actually keep Caine on the pitch as the team captain – thankfully they decided against having him actually ever kick a ball. I wont tell you what Stallone ends up doing because it is simply too amazing. Needless to say I am completely unsure as to why he is even in the film, at one point a commentator helpfully explains how penalty kicks work, one assumes for an American audience (no mention of the offside rule), and that seems like the only reason Stallone would be there too. The film is a ridiculous, the stereotyping is awful and frankly it makes being a P.O.W in WWII Germany look like a holiday, but you cant help but cheer at the end. The inevitable, predictable, perfect end.
Escape to Victory