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"Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory...lasts forever."—Shane Falco
A not-so-typical football movie made in 2000 starring Keanu Reeves.
A rag-tag group of semi-pro and amateur football players are collected by an esoteric former coach for one last shot at the big time. Thanks to a football strike by dozens of pro players, and in some cases (Washington, notably, the team of focus in the movie) entire teams, scabs are hired to keep the team's standings intact 'till the end of the season... they turn out to be even more awesome than the actual team they're replacing.
It's nasty out there...
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Shane falls for the gorgeous head cheerleader for the Sentinels but in his defense, she's sweet, funny, and probably knows more about football than he does...even if she does drive like a maniac.
- She's a cheerleader who owns a sports bar. That has to be a Geeky Turn On for sports fans.
- Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: After the Bar Brawl, the coach tells the team that if anything like it happens again, there will be no place on the team for any of them...but for the record, he wishes he was there to see Martel get his ass kicked.
- Badass: Danny Bateman is an utter monster on the field, who plows through blockers like they're not even there. It's not much of a surprise when his introduction lists him as Gulf War veteran with a Purple Heart. His day job is shown in his intro too; He's a SWAT officer.
- Badass Boast: On the final play of the game, Andre Jackson lets the other team know how it's all going to end.
Andre Jackson: "We ain't losin' this game."
- Badass Preacher: One of the scab players is a minister, and gets to kick some ass in the Bar Brawl.
- Not only that, he quotes Bible passages while beating the hell out of striking players attacking him.
- Bar Brawl: The pro players show up to taunt and mock The Replacements. Said replacements end up in jail after the brawl. The pro players, on the other hand, likely ended up in the ER.
- Based on a True Story: of the 1987 NFL strike.
- Bash Brothers: Jamal and Andre Jackson, Shane's guards. Their dayjob is working as bodyguards for rapper ODB. They, uh, kind of let a mob of fans get ahold of him, when they get the phonecall to play football.
- In fact, it's mentioned that they used to be in pro ball together, but once one of them was traded to another team, neither performed up to par. Apparently, they only really kick ass when they're on the field together.
- Battle Cry: Jumbo, the Japanese Sumo wrestler turned offensive tackle has a good one.
- It approximates into something similar to 'who wants some?'
- Big Game
- Character as Himself: John Madden and Pat Summerall play themselves, doing the play-by-play for the football games in the movie. Shocking.
- Crazy Awesome: Danny Bateman.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: McGinty's speech about fear before the San Diego game.
- Curse Cut Short: A news clip is shown of Martel in the locker room trying to "explain" the Sentinel's strike when an angry team member walks up and says: "Do you know how much insurance costs on a Ferrari, motherf--"
- Distracted by the Sexy: The Sentinels actually win a game because their cheerleaders are almost all strippers and break into an incredibly sexy and over the top dance sequence, which distracts their opposing team, the entire crowd of the stadium, and even the referee.
- Drives Like Crazy: Annabelle, as Shane once has the misfortune of learning when she drives him back to his boat.
- Dude, Not Funny: In the bar, Martel starts making fun of the replacement players' deaf team member. They do not take it well.
- Easter Egg / Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In jail, during the song and dance number, Shane yells 'Adrian!'. Your Mileage May Vary as to which of these it is.
- Mr. Fanservice: A majority of the replacement players but Keanu Reeves is in top form in this movie and may cause a bit of swooning for the female (and some male) viewers.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: One of Martel's teammates makes the mistake of calling Jamal (One of Shane's guards) a 'Son of a Bitch'. Jamal takes a moment to absorb the comment, then calmly shoots out the driver's-side window of Martel's sportscar.
- Everybody Remembers the Stripper: Oh dear lord do they ever. The cheerleaders are probably just as good a reason to watch the movie as the actual players are.
- Foreshadowing: Coach McGinty tells Falco, after the latter changes a play to a hand-off when he expects a blitz coming, thus losing the game, that 'winners always want the ball when the game is on the line'. In the final minute of the last game of the movie, we get this exchange;
McGinty: "What's it gonna be Shane?"
Falco: "I want the ball."
McGinty: "Winners always do."
- Groin Attack: Nigel during the bar fight.
Nigel: (beckons a really big guy) C'mon! C'mon! C'mon, STOP! (kicks the guy in the crotch) Let's play football, bitch. (kicks the guy in the forehead)
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Indy Ploy: More than a few plays boil down to this and luck.
- Like Shane's reaction to the same player tackling him over and over; Let the guy through the defending line, then drill him in the face with the football. It works.
- Insult Backfire: Overlapping with Crowning Moment of Heartwarming;
Martel: "Nobody can beat Dallas with these losers."
Falco: "I can."
- Martel seems to live to set himself up for these;
Martel: "This doesn't change anything, Falco! I'm an all-pro quarterback, I've got two Super Bowl rings! And you'll never be anything more than a replacement player."
Shane: "Yeah. Yeah, I can live with that."
- It Has Been an Honor: Quoted by Falco at the end of the movie.
Falco: "Gentlemen, it has been an honor to share the field of battle with you."
- Jerk Jock: Most of the pro ballers are portrayed like this, especially Martel.
- ESPECIALLY Martel, who rags on the deaf guy... Because he's deaf.
- It's not like the hearing-impaired have contributed to the game. Well, except for the huddle, which was invented in 1894 by a deaf player. At the time, basically every play was an audible, so the defense could spy on and potentially decode the offense's signals.
- ESPECIALLY Martel, who rags on the deaf guy... Because he's deaf.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: The tail end of Shane's one meeting with the head cheerleader is overlapped with some surprisingly fitting play-by-play from John Madden.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Martel proves this exists, as Danny shows up right after Martel was ragging on the deaf player for being deaf. And it is awesome.
- Lightning Bruiser: Just watch Danny run, and then flatten people without breaking stride.
- Male Gaze: Both in the movie, and in real life. In the movie, all the Scab cheerleaders are strippers. You do the math.
- Mighty Glacier: Jamal and Andre, but not nearly as much as Jumbo, who weighs about as much as both of them put together, and has the muscles to match.
- Musical Episode: After the Bar Brawl, the scabs are thrown in jail. They bond, and use the time until being bailed out to sing and dance together to 'I Will Survive'.
- New Rules as the Plot Demands: "Kick Ass on one" really should've resulted in most of the team getting thrown out of the game. But who cares?
- Oh Crap: The dawning realization on Martel's face as the Replacements surround him during halftime of the final game of the movie just drips this trope.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The movie is loosely (very loosely) based on the real-life 1987 NFL strike. The Washington Redskins actually won three games without any of their regular players, and went on to Super Bowl XXII. They won, but the movie doesn't actually go that far.
- The Sentinels beating a Dallas team whose entire team has crossed the picket line is true. The 1987 Redskins Replacements actually beat a Dallas team that had more than 20 "real professional" players, including starting quarterback Danny White, defensive tackle Randy White and running back Tony Dorsett.
- The multi-fumble play was also based on real life. In another shocker, Madden was COACHING one of the teams involved with said play at the time it happened.
- Redemption Quest: This happens to Shane Falco. Falco had notoriously choked in the final game of his college career, and performed miserably in his little time as a pro, so this last chance at the game represents a chance for him to erase that image.
- Retired Badass: Shane and McGinty, respectively.
- Rousing Speech: McGinty busts out one of these before the beginning of the second half of the final game of the movie;
McGinty: "Listen up! This time tomorrow... The strike will be officially over. Now Dallas has made a big mistake out there tonight; They haven't been afraid of you. And they should be, because you have a powerful weapon working for you; There is no tomorrow for you. And that makes you all very. Dangerous. People!"
- Scary Black Man: Earl Wilkinson, the player on loan from a prison. He's a good guy and a great football player, but his record and the fact that he's a Perpetual Frowner spook even one of the coaches.
Coach: Well, there's no use standing here alone...outside of screaming distance...(walks very quickly towards the stadium with Wilkinson trailing behind him)
- "Shut Up" Kiss: When he comes out to the field for the second half of the final game, Shane heads right over to Annabelle, listens to her give football advice for a few seconds, then makes good use of this trope.
John Madden: "He seems to be neckin' with that cheerleader! That's what he's doin'!"
Pat Summerall: "You know, players are not supposed to be fraternizing with the cheerleaders."
John Madden: "Yeah, but what are they gonna do, Pat? Fire him?"
- So Bad It's Good: Danny (Cop) and Earl's (Convict) reaction to Shane's 'can't we all just get along?' interrupting their argument in jail.
- Spell My Name with an "S": In an interesting variation of this trope, Nigel, the team's kicker, is 'wirwy'.
- Taking a Third Option: In the final game, Nigel, the team's kicker, reveals on the last play that he's going to lose his bar to some Mafia guys because he owes them money from betting at the track. They're forcing him to blow the kick to make up for it. Shane can either let Nigel blow the kick, and lose the game, or try and get a replacement (a replacement replacement?) kicker before the timeout runs out. He decides on a third option in a dramatic snap-cut. He takes the ball and runs, flattening several opposing players blocking his path. It works, and then it doesn't.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Ostensibly, Falco's return for the final game of the movie cues this, as the theme for pretty much
anyevery sports movie kicks up as he runs onto the field.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The first "game-winning" play, called back by a penalty.
That's why girls don't play the game.