REVIEW — “23 Blast”
Better suited for an afterschool special, “23 Blast” isn’t bad so much as it isn’t very good.
Each year we are provided with a number of true sport stories that are meant to lift up and inspire. The characters always overcome hardships, sometimes race-related, sometimes chronic bad luck. In “23 Blast”, a highschool student, Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka), continues to play football after an unusual virus (or botched small town surgery?) causes him to unexpectedly go blind.
Taking place in one of those bible-belt little towns where only God and Football exist, the story isn’t very compelling to those outside of that environment. After “Friday Night Lights”, “Remember the Titans” and various other movies we are familiar with these towns, but if you don’t live in such a place, this type of life seems incredibly narrow-minded. Yes, overcoming adversities, especially teenage blindness, can be inspiring, and the scenes where he is learning to adjust to this new life are some of the best in the film. (Even if they are shown in a Musical Montage!) However, his goal to play football again, and the coach that allows it, seems questionable at best. It’s hard not to side with the naysayers in the film. But when Football and Jesus are your only options there’s not much to choose from. Ironically Travis does go on to be a Southern Baptist Minister. (Keep your eyes open for his not-so-subtle cameo.)
While the script is almost cringe-worthy at times, it actually feels very sincere and good natured. The cheesy humor is always uplifting in nature, and most of the characters are likable, if not a bit cartoonish. This film will appeal to a small demographic, but most others would do best to avoid it.
Note: The film is rated PG-13 for “teenage drinking” which is a bit of a shame considering how good natured the movie is. The rating may prevent some younger audiences from seeing it who are probably the ones who would enjoy it most.
2.5 out of 5 Stars