BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL

4 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87 minutes
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Hell, what can you say about a movie that heralds teamwork and warns against the dangers of alcoholism while blowing stuff up real good? It’s critic proof.

You’d have to be a grinch not to like “Battlefield Baseball” since it doesn’t try to be anything but fun and absurd. Shucks, except for a few bloody scenes this would make a great kid’s film. Well… a great kid’s film with people being killed by zombies with baseball bats.

Seido High School aspires to have the best baseball team in the country. Only one thing stands in their way: Gedo High. Where the rules of baseball are thrown out the door and anything goes, including killing your opponents. Tough school, I wonder what the survival rate is for their shop class?

Once the coach/school principal hears the news that his team will have to play the Gedo team (Who all look like zombies that wandered off the set of “The Road Warrior”, mind you) he goes into hysterics. Hey, who wouldn’t? There is no way to win against such maniacs. Or is there?

A new kid, Jubeh The Baseball, just arrived to school, could he be their savior?

Yes, he’s called Jubeh The Baseball. And yes, this is the film’s level of humor.

What follows is an LSD trip through the sports movie “hall of clichés”. But trust me, it’s not boring. Jubeh doesn’t want to play baseball (of course). Something terrible happened years ago that soured his love of the game (of course). Only he really does want to play baseball despite his gruff demeanor (of course!).

The coach wants Jubeh on the team and will do everything he can, including begging on his hands and knees, to get him to join. Jubeh is unmoved. He explains to us, in song, (Yes, you read that right) how a young boy killed his father accidentally with his fastball and how that boy can no longer play.

*Sniff*

Then we have four eyes, the aspiring baseball player who sucks but loves the game anyway. His mother doesn’t want him to play and will, quite literally, kill him if she catches wind of him being anywhere near a field. Will four eyes be the only one who can convince Jubeh to play? Will four eyes show Jubeh that they both share the love of the sport? And that this, more than anything else, can bring them together as a team?

I don’t think I really need to answer that for anyone over the age of four.

To say that the film moves at a quick pace is an understatement. It zips by with nary a thought about logic or sense. I can’t review it like I would anything else. The acting is terrible, but it’s on purpose. The screenplay goes every which way at once and doesn’t make much sense at times, but it’s on purpose. The film embraces its ridiculousness and is a minor masterpiece of fun as a result.

I was looking forward to this for the simple reason that baseball is my least favorite sport. Ranking a little bit lower than golf and a little bit higher than synchronized swimming on my excitement meter. I can’t stand the game. It’s so slow you could play it drunk. In fact, that might make it more interesting. ANYTHING could make baseball more interesting.

A guy throws a ball. Clonk, the batter hits it and it goes flying.
Then, a bunch of guys in the outfield scramble after it while the batter runs around on bases. Zzzzzzz… So, with that in mind, I was looking forward to a game where things exploded and people were killed. That would have livened up the sport.

Which brings us to the only real problem that I can see with this film: The “Baseball” part.

No one actually really plays a game. Which kind of explains why the version I saw was renamed “Battlefield Stadium”. It’s not as catchy a title but it makes much more sense. Gedo High School doesn’t use the game of baseball to kill people; it just kills people using baseball bats. However, the movie is so frenetic that I didn’t even have time to be disappointed before the credits were already rolling.

So, yeah, I would have liked to have seen a game, but in the end, you’ll watch this film because it’s so goofy and unpretentious. I guess they’re saving an actual match for the sequel. Let’s hope so.



Posted on October 18, 2004 in Reviews by
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