Movie Review: The Mighty Ducks

The Mighty Ducks Trailer

The Mighty Ducks Summary

Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is an arrogant but successful Minneapolis defense attorney. After his 30th successful case, he celebrates by going out drinking, but is arrested for drunk driving and sentenced to 500 hours of community service by coaching the local “District 5” Pee-Wee hockey team. Bombay has an unpleasant history with the sport: as a youth in 1973, he was the Hawks’ star player but, struggling with the loss of his father, he missed a penalty shot in the championship game, disappointing his hyper-competitive coach, Jack Reilly (Lane Smith). The Hawks went on to lose in overtime, becoming one of their only championship defeats.

Bombay meets the District 5 team, and realizes the children have no practice facility, equipment, or ability. Their first game with Bombay at the helm is against the Hawks. Reilly is still the Hawks’ head coach and, despite a nearly unbroken championship streak, remains bitter about Gordon’s missed penalty shot. District 5 is soundly defeated as Reilly demands the Hawks run up the score. Bombay berates the team for not listening to him, and the players challenge his authority. For the next match, Bombay tries to teach his team how to dive and draw penalties, which results in another loss – this time to the Jets – angering the team further. Specifically one player Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson), who refused to fake an injury like Bombay instructed him to. Bombay visits his old mentor Hans (Joss Ackland), who owns a nearby sporting goods store and was in attendance at the game against the Hawks. While there, Bombay recalls that he quit playing hockey after losing his father four months before the championship game, and because Reilly blamed him for the loss due to the missed penalty shot. Hans encourages him to rekindle his childhood passion for the sport by skating in a frozen pond like he did when he was a kid. Realizing the error of his ways, he apologizes to Charlie and his mother at their home.

Bombay approaches his boss, Gerald Ducksworth (Josef Sommer), to sponsor the team, allowing them to purchase professional-grade equipment as opposed to the makeshift equipment they had, and give Bombay time to teach the players fundamentals. Renamed the Ducks – after Ducksworth – the team fights its next game against the Cardinals to a tie. They recruit three new players: Figure skating siblings Tommy (Danny Tamberelli) and Tammy Duncan (Jane Plank), and slap shot specialist and enforcer Fulton Reed (Elden Henson). The potential of Charlie catches Bombay’s eye; he takes Charlie under his wing and teaches him some of the tactics he used playing with the Hawks.

Bombay learns that, due to redistricting, the Hawks’ star player Adam Banks (Vincent LaRusso) lives in District Five and should be playing for the Ducks, and threatens Reilly into transferring Banks to the Ducks. After overhearing an out-of-context quote about the team, most of the players walk out (except Charlie and Fulton who form a strong friendship), resulting in a loss on forfeit to the Flames. The Ducks lose faith in Bombay and revert to their old habits except Charlie and Fulton.

Ducksworth makes a deal with Reilly for the Hawks to keep Banks, which Bombay, although initially tempted, refuses on the principles of fair play, which Ducksworth berated him about when he started his community service. Left with the choice of letting his team down or being fired from his job, he takes the latter.

Bombay manages to regain his players’ trust after they win a crucial match against the Huskies in order to qualify for the playoffs, and Banks – who decided to play with the Ducks rather than not play hockey at all – proves to be an asset though Jesse doesn’t trust him. The Ducks march through the playoffs with wins against the Hornets and the Cardinals, reaching the championship game against the Hawks. Reilly orders his team to injure Banks to force him out of the game; in spite of this, the Ducks manage to tie late in the final period, and Charlie is tripped by a Hawks player as time expires. In precisely the same situation Bombay faced in his youth, Charlie prepares for a game-deciding penalty shot. In stark contrast to Reilly – who told Bombay that if he missed, he was letting everyone down – Bombay tells Charlie to take his best shot and that he will believe in him no matter what. Inspired, Charlie fakes out the goalie with a “triple-deke” Bombay taught him and scores, winning the state championship.

The Ducks players and their families race onto the ice in jubilation, where Bombay thanks Hans for his belief in him and Hans tells Bombay he is proud of him; as Gordon is handed and raises the championship trophy, the team all rally around him and chant “Ducks!” repeatedly in triumphant unison. Some days later, Bombay boards a bus to a minor-league tryout, secured for him by the NHL’s Basil McRae of the Minnesota North Stars, who played Pee-Wee hockey with him as a youth. Although daunted at the prospect of going up against younger players, he receives the same words of encouragement and advice from the Ducks he had given them, promising to return next season to defend their title.

The Mighty Ducks Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Disney Channel Classic. There were a few sequels plus a recent series that was launch on Disney plus. I promise to catch up on that. I am in the midst of moving, plus finishing up Volume 2 of The Disney Pixar Connection, so projects are a lot. But I do want to take a few minutes to recommend this film. With Winter around the corner (few short months away) I thought why not bring you the positives. Sports inspired films were big in the 90s, especially from the Disney Channel. I promise that even though its a hockey film, it is heart warming.

Did you watch the new series yet?

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