"A remake that leaves you wondering why they bothered"
The Longest Yard is a remake of a 1970’s movie of the same name. It was also rehashed in the British flick Mean Machine a couple of years back with soccer being the game rather than American football.Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) is a disgraced ex NFL star player who has lost any form of self respect he might have once had and after he hits the booze one night, finds himself in a multi-car police chase with the end result leading to some time in the slammer. He is sent to a Texan prison run by a heartless the Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) and his sadistic redneck guards. The warden, however, happens to be a huge fan of football and decides that he would like to see a guard versus prisoner match with Crew being the coach of the inmate team. Crewe is reluctant but soon realises that his time will be easier on him if he follows orders. He befriends the Caretaker (Chris Rock) who has a knack for obtaining just about anything from the outside world and together they assemble a team of the biggest, meanest players they can find. Most of them are reluctant but with the promise of violent revenge on the guards, it is too hard to resist for those who have been on the receiving end of a guard’s baton. Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds), a long serving senior ex-pro also jumps in as coach and the scene is set for an ultra-violent showdown with the guards.
One would think the pairing of Sandler and Rock would be a non stop jokefest but there is not a lot of laugh out loud humour going on here. Instead it is full of prison clichés and predictable innuendos. The studio should have let Sandler and Rock write their own parts and they would have had a much funnier movie rather than it being full of heavily scripted schoolyard humour. Another annoyance is the amount of McDonald’s product placement going on. Combine that with the fact that it is under MTV banner and it does not get much more commercial (literally) that that. On the plus side the sports action scenes are well choreographed and the sound editing allows for every bone crunching clash to be heard in perfect clarity.I can understand remakes if film makers can improve on the original but there is nothing new on offer here. There may not be many prison films about football but there are certainly far better individual movies about prison life or underdog sports movies.