Saturday, December 26, 2009

Forever Strong (2008)


Forever Strong was one of those real finds in the Wal-Mart $5 DVD bin. You take a chance when you don’t know anything about a movie except what you read on the DVD case. This time I struck it rich. The description from the back of the DVD case read in part, “A stand-up-and-cheer movie about loyalty, courage, and conviction, set amid the intense and often fierce completion of championship rugby?”

First, “Why Rugby?” and second, “What is Rugby?” There is a famous American high school rugby team in Utah that has one a series of championship over its 30+ year existence. Rugby is a sport from which American football evolved. Rugby was born in England. It has never really caught on here like baseball, basketball, football or even soccer. Yet, it is made interesting via this movie.

D-Man2010 on IMDB.com provides this concise summary of the plot of the movie, “Rick Penning lives life just like he plays rugby; fast, hard-hitting and intense. When life on the edge lands him in jail, prison ward Marcus Tate offers him a chance to get back in the game by playing for his rival, Highland Rugby. Reluctantly Rick joins the team where he must adopt the grueling training schedule and unique code of conduct that Coach Gelwix enforces, or finish out the season behind bars. Egos clash as bitter competitors struggle to become a team. An unlikely brotherhood is formed with his Highland teammates, just as Rick is released from jail and sent back home to rejoin his former team, coached by his overbearing father. Heading into a faceoff with Highland at the National Championship, Rick is forced to choose where his loyalty lies."

I like what the real Coach Gelwix says about the movie in one of the DVD special features, which captures his philosophy and Highland Rugby program, “. . . The movie is a collection of stories of things that captured the essence of who we are (the Highland Rugby team & program) . . . It will be a movie that people will watch again and again and because you walk out inspired, you walk out wanting to be a better person . . . The movie accurately portrays who we are, what we teach, and the values we hold dear. Those values are eternal. Those values always work. It will be one of those reminders of what life should be and what life can be, and for all that we are forever grateful for Forever Strong.”

RATING

I give the movie a ****1/2 out of *****. It is an excellent value to either rent or purchase or watch on TV when it comes around. I highly recommend it to the sports fan or non sports fan. It is inspirational and dramatic. It is the story of character, second chances and victory in life and on the field of play. The acting is good and you really get a real orientation and appreciation of the game of Rugby, which before I watched this movie I knew next to nothing about. It's really a tough game, even tougher than American football, where you wear helmets and shoulder pads . . .

Have you seen this movie? Let me know what you think of it is you have seen it or will see it.

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