Actor Kuno Becker has recently announced that he has written his own script for a Goal 4, to follow on from the trilogy, few might say thrill-ogy, of football-themed films of which this is the final instalment. Becker had played striker Santiago Muñez in Goal and Goal II: Living The Dream, but somewhere along the line the air went out of the balloon d’or of these FIFA-approved ads for the beautiful game, and out popped this horrible, laughable, risible film like a contractually obligated album. It’s atrocious, but for bad movie fans, contains genuine idiocies to savour.
Having followed Munez and his friends and family from rags to riches, Goal III completely demolishes the previous films and goes off in a poorly advised new direction. First off, Munez gets himself in a car-crash in the first 15 mins and never plays again. This is like if Rocky III saw Rocky accidentally chop off his own hands and immediately retire. Instead the action shifts to some new characters, somehow a step down from the already shop-worn stereotypes previously featured. Charlie Braithwaite (Leo Gregory) and Liam Adams (JJ Feild) are two likely lads who get advice from Munez as they navigate girlfriends, on and off the field pressures and finally the 2006 world cup itself.
It’s the inanities that make Andrew Morahan’s film so notable. There’s almost no football action in here other than a few clips of the 2006 World Cup, so the running time has to be padded out with hot garbage. Adams invites Braithwaite to a film-set for a bondage/vampire movie he’s making in Romania; even for an England player, this seems like a reach. This fictional movie is shot in a studio the size of an aircraft–hanger, has literally dozens of girls in bondage gear on set, and a car-park maze of trailers and caravans. What kind of low-budget film is this? Why would a cast of local Romanian girls all cheer with enthusiasm when the boys’ agent (slumming Nick Moran) interrupts to casually mention to them they’ve been selected for the England squad? Why don’t the boys even seem interested at all in who else has been selected to play on the same team?
It’s impossible to spoil the non-drama which follows. Braithwaite slips and falls on the pitch, his head strikes a sharp lump of turf, and not surprisingly, he dies from his injuries, leaving Adams to carry on and play against Portugal in the quarter finals. It’s notably that while Adams wears an undershirt with RIP Charlie written in felt-pen, none of the other England players behave as if there’s anything unusual about one of their players being stretched off and dying in the previous game. All this contrivance leads to a topical if stunningly anticlimactic conclusion in which Adams has to remember his best buddy by taking a crucial kick in the penalty shootout and somehow…missing it?
I guess we’re meant to feel that it’s more of a triumph to remember your dead pal than to win, but this is a film about football, and this end is one of the worst imaginable. There’s also racism about Romania peasants, misogyny towards most of the women featured, and a hideous sub-plot about a van full of England fans boozing it up across Europe. The minimal action is provided by integrating green-screen footage of actors with the real games in 2006, and it doesn’t work at all, not helped by a fake opening that reveals how this unimpressive trick is done. A terrible, terrible film in any language or culture, a Goal 4 is needed to help us all ignore the events of this rancid, putrid film, something that most reasonable people did some time ago.