Alexandria, Virginia, 1971: in an act of positive discrimination aimed at soothing a divided community, the authorities have appointed a black football coach at a newly integrated high school. Enter Washington, with Patton, the much admired previous incumbent, agreeing to play second fiddle. The pair hope that success on the field will demonstrate that the races can work in harmony. This Disney production proves predictably positive and a little too cute, despite its basis in a true story. Get past all that, however, and it's also a pretty decent sports movie. Washington, of course, is as commanding as ever, his decidedly Spartan training regime overcoming resistance as he fashions his disparate players into a cohesive unit by making it compulsory for the different races to get to know each other. The gradual thawing of suspicions on both sides holds few surprises, but the confidence of the football sequences is perhaps unexpected in Boaz (Fresh) Yakin's first studio picture. The emphasis on the players' developing mutual trust, is absorbing to watch and cleanly directed.
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