In 1972, a historical ice hockey game tournament is arranged where the cream of Canada's professional stars of the National Hockey League would play against the best of the Soviet Union's. Although Canada and the USSR have faced off repeatedly on the amateur level before, most of Canada is smugly convinced that the Soviets will be no match for the pros. However, that assumption is forcefully shot down when Team Canada is soundly trounced in the first game by the skilled Soviet Union team. What follows is a bitter struggle as Team Canada fights to recover in a series that would change Canadian hockey's self-image and history forever. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Superficial attempt at recapturing the Summit in '72
The three out of my four stars for this movie are purely based on the movie's honest and quite successful attempt at re-creating the factual context of the Summit (i.e. scenery, atmosphere, etc.). However, the movie falls short when it comes to telling Team Canada's story and creating an engaging story that tries to explain and uncover the particular dynamics of this great series. The movie focuses on so many different players and team execs on Team Canada that it in fact gives the audience very little insight into how the players really felt. Ken Dryden for instance is depicted as one of the few players that actually seems to have any brains and a willingness to learn from the Russians. And that, I believe, is one of the most important elements of this series; Canadian and Russian styles of hockey are exposed to one another which enabled both sides to learn from each other for the good of the game. The play in the NHL nowadays enjoys both hockey philosophies which has created a much more enjoyable style of hockey. Unfortunately, Team Canada's players are more often than not displayed as goons without much finesse (which we all now is far from the truth) and sometimes I had a hard time sympathizing with the Canadian team. Heck, I even felt like rooting for the Russians at some points (like when Clarke is ordered to immobilize the Russian star forward). Cudos to the filmmakers for including aspects like this which I'm sure most Canadians consider to be unsportsmanlike conduct, yet nonetheless part of the games that were played. However, when the movie already has a hard time explaining why we should care about these players the goon aspect just makes us even less likely to sympathize with them. This movie sadly leaves much to be desired - could have been told so much better!
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