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George Roy Hill
Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean, Strother Martin
Writing Credits:
Nancy Dowd

A failing ice hockey team finds success with outrageously violent hockey goonery.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Spanish DTS Monaural
French DTS Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 10/15/2013

• Audio Commentary with the Hanson Brothers
• “Puck Talk with the Hansons” Featurette
• “The Hanson Brothers’ Classic Scenes Featurette
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Slap Shot [Blu-Ray] (1977)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 29, 2020)

Compared to sports like baseball, football and boxing, not a lot of hockey movies exist. However, in that genre, 1977’s Slap Shot stands as almost certainly the most beloved of the lot.

A minor league hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs struggle to draw crowds. Business matters deteriorate to the point where it looks like the Chiefs will go defunct.

Faced with this prospect, player/coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) decides to go for broke and embrace an especially violent form of hockey to attract fans. We follow these exploits alongside Reggie’s attempts to reconcile with estranged wife Francine (Jennifer Warren).

In the category of “movies that couldn’t be made today”, we must include Slap Shot, an intensely non-politically correct effort. Oh sure, we could get a version of this tale, but not in the same way, as the film virtually revels in its potentially offensive content.

Granted, a lot of what won’t fly in 2020 seemed perfectly acceptable in 1977. We can find attitudes and terms that just weren’t seen as inherently off-limits 43 years ago.

In any case, viewers who hope to enjoy Slap Shot will need to subsume 2020 standards to do so. While not relentlessly outré, the movie clearly must be seen as a product of its time.

With that POV in place, I can find a lot to enjoy about Slap Shot, as it brings a gleefully raunchy look at the lives of minor league athletes. One can’t locate a particularly coherent plot, but that’s not unusual for movies of this sort.

Like 1988’s Bull Durham - a film that clearly took inspiration from it - Slap Shot brings a character comedy built around a rough narrative theme. Sure, we get the general through-line related to Reggie’s attempts to keep the team afloat, but that exists for little reason other than to motivate character interactions.

For all intents and purposes, Slap Shot remains a plot-free affair, and that seems fine with me. The movie locates more than enough amusing shenanigans to sustain the viewer’s attention.

When it sticks with the Chiefs and the players, that is. Unfortunately, Slap Shot sags badly when it invests in romantic melodrama.

Does anyone actually care about Reggie’s estranged wife or his attempts to seduce his teammate’s wife Lily (Lindsay Crouse)? Maybe, but I don’t, and those scenes feel out of place and downright boring.

Still, we don’t get enough of those mopey diversions to actively harm the movie. Newman proves his usual delightful self, and it’s fun that we get his reunion with Strother Martin from Cool Hand Luke.

The rest of the actors add mirth and life as well. 43 years later, the loutish but innocent Hanson Brothers remain iconic, and while I don’t totally get why this remains the case, they bring a weird energy to the film.

I don’t know if Slap Shot deserves its status as a classic of sorts, but the movie does what it needs to do. Even with some slow spots, it brings an entertaining collection of wild comedic antics.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C/ Bonus C+

Slap Shot appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a decent but not great image.

Sharpness generally worked fine. Some softness impacted interiors, and the movie rarely boasted excellent clarity, but it usually delivered fairly nice delineation.

No instances of moiré effects or jaggies materialized, but I saw some light edge haloes. In terms of print flaws, occasional small specks emerged, but nothing severe.

The movie went with a palette that leaned a little blue but usually felt pretty natural.

Black levels were similarly deep and concise, while the smattering of low-light shots came across as clean and appropriately distinctive. This felt like a somewhat dated but more than watchable presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it felt lackluster even for its age/ambitions/era. Speech tended to seem somewhat edgy, with more than a few lines that showed roughness.

Similar thoughts greeted the mix’s effects, as they didn’t show much range and they came with some distortion. Music worked better, at least, as score and songs displayed fairly nice punch. This wasn’t a terrible track for its period, but it came with too many flaws.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from actors Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and David Hanson. The movie’s “Hanson Brothers”, all three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at their hockey careers and memories of the film’s production.

Though this never becomes an unlistenable commentary, it lacks many insights. The actors seem engaging enough, and it’s a fun chat in theory.

However, they tend to provide fairly banal observations, and they go MIA a fair amount. While not a terrible track, the commentary lacks much to make it worthwhile.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two more Hanson-related extras. Classic Scenes spans 18 minutes, 29 seconds and simply lets viewers skip directly to various segments with the brothers. It’s a weak “bonus”.

Finally, Puck Talk with the Hansons lasts four minutes, 57 seconds and offers thoughts from Hanson, Jeff Carlson and Steve Carlson. They provide decent memories of their experiences.

No one should expect a particularly story-focused, coherent experience from Slap Shot. Nonetheless, it throws enough crazed comedy at the screen that much of it sticks. The Blu-ray comes with fairly adequate picture, dated audio and supplements led by a blah commentary. This never becomes a great Blu-ray, but the movie offers a lively work.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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