Movie Review: Breakaway

Canada and hockey go hand in hand, but making a movie about it might not be such a good idea. As Breakaway proves, it can get a little weary.

Directed by Robert Lieberman (D3: The Mighty Ducks), the film stars newcomer Vinay Virmani as Rajveer Singh, a Sikh-Canadian with enough talent to play the game with the nation’s best. However, there’s a problem: his strict father wants him to focus on work and family, forbidding him to play the sport he loves.

But with the help of Coach Winters (Rob Lowe), Rajveer decides to go behind his father’s back to start an all-Sikh team. While wooing the coach’s little sister (Camilla Belle) and being constantly underestimated by his cousin’s fiancé (Russell Peters), the team eventually makes a surprise run for the coveted Hyundai Cup. Having to choose between his team and respecting his father’s wishes, from there, Rajveer’s story is predictable right until the end.

Putting the obvious theme of hockey aside, the film undoubtedly has a message. While comedic, it looks at Canada’s ever-changing diversity, tackling issues such as discrimination, ignorance and stereotyping. However, aside from that, there’s little to be gained from the film.

Even though the actors are charming and convincing enough, they aren’t used to their best abilities due to the bland and corny script (written by lead Virmani). Much of it is strangely reminiscent of Bend it Like Beckham, even stealing parts from its plotline – a wedding and disapproving father included. And Anupam Kher (who plays Rajveer’s dad here) played a similar role in Bend it Like Beckham. 

The Blu-Ray doesn’t include much besides a 26-minute featurette called “Making Breakaway,” which talks about how the film was made. And even though there isn’t much to know about the movie, it’s nice to see Canadian talent, culture and the city of Toronto being recognized in a film.

While the movie is weak in many areas, it isn’t terrible. With the occasional witty one-liner from Peters, fun little Bollywood sequences and cameos from hip-hop stars Drake and Ludacris,Breakaway is charming enough for audiences who aren’t expecting a great deal. With its satisfying yet predictable end, this offering is nothing but a good way to kill some time.

This was published in Exclaim! on February 10, 2012. 



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