out of Five
Running time: 115
Goal II is as cliched as the first film, but it's still an enjoyable drama with likeable characters and exciting (albeit implausible) football scenes.
What's it all about?
The second instalment of the FIFA-sponsored football trilogy picks up
18 months after the first film, with Santi Munez (Kuno Becker) poached by Real Madrid after an impressive run at Newcastle. Santi's thrilled to be joining his old friend Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola) alongside the likes of Beckham and Zidane, but his pregnant fiancee Roz (Anna Friel) isn't happy with the relocation.
However, Santi's problems don't end there: he's aggressively pursued by a beautiful TV reporter (Leonor Varela), he receives an Owen-like injury and he clashes with both his manager (Stephen Dillane) and Real Madrid's gruff team coach (a brilliantly cast Rutger Hauer). On top of that, he discovers that his long-lost mother (Elizabeth Pena) is still alive and that he has a delinquent little brother to boot.
Becker makes an engaging lead and he convincingly portrays Santi's transition from wide-eyed newcomer to seasoned celebrity, without losing sight of the character's basic decency. Nivola reprises his superb, scene-stealing turn as Gavin Harris and there's excellent support from Pena and Varela.
The football sequences are excellent, using the first film's digital trickery to convincingly show Santi and Gavin playing alongside Beckham and co. However, Arsenal fans had better prepare themselves for a shock, as the dramatic Real Madrid-Arsenal showdown doesn't quite play out the way that it happened in real life.
For the most part, director Jaume Collet-Serra keeps tight control of his cliches but there is the occasional foul, such as an annoying car chase that stretches believability a little too far. Similarly, the dialogue is occasionally trite and some of the actors struggle with some badly written speeches.
Cliched but nonetheless enjoyable - if you liked the first film, you won't be disappointed by the second one. Unless you're an Arsenal fan.