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‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 25, 1994


Sam Weisman
Emilio Estevez;
Michael Tucker;
Jan Rubes;
Kathryn Erbe;
Cartsen Norgaard
Parental guidance suggested

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"D2: The Mighty Ducks" reaches an extraordinary low -- even for a Disney sequel. This unctuous barrage of flag-waving, message-mongering, counterfeit morality, which contains the stalest kiddie-team heroics in recent memory, makes the original, innocuous "Ducks" look like one of the Great Works.

"The Mighty Ducks," a 1992 hit, was a relatively inoffensive drama about a group of young losers in Minneapolis-St. Paul who find new pride in a peewee ice hockey team led by Coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), a lawyer fallen from grace and a peewee manque himself. The story resolved itself in a climactic battle with dastardly local rivals the Hawks.

"D2," which reunites the producers (including Jon Avnet and Steven Brill, who scripted both movies) with the original cast, goes global. Bombay (conveniently injured in the minor leagues and forced back into coaching) reunites with his Ducks to represent Team U.S.A. in an international tournament in Los Angeles.

The already diverse Ducks add new players Luis (Mike Vitar), a Miami Cuban; drawlin' Texas boy Dwayne (Ty O'Neal); Maine girl-goalie Julie (Colombe Jacobsen); Korean American figure skater Ken Wu (Justin Wong); heavy-metal bad boy Portman (Aaron Lohr); and south-central L.A. street kid Russ (Kenan Thompson). Now they're really Team U.S.A.!

Along with pride in country come product endorsement deals, numerous TV interviews, Rodeo Drive shopping temptations and other cracks in the moral ice. Bombay instantly turns into a Pat Riley, with a slick suit, a cool swagger and oiled-back hair. The Ducks feel the lure too. Luckily, they have the benefit of sage advice from Bombay's Obi-Wan Kenobe-style mentor, Jan (Jan Rubes, filling in for the late Joss Ackland), and team teacher Michele Mackay (Kathryn Erbe), who functions as a rink-side Jiminy Cricket.

Their seduction by the forces of capitalistic greed (of which Disney, naturally, is no part) is nothing compared with the ordeal they face against the ice-skating Darth Vaders of all time: Icelanders. Yes, the country of Vikings and geysers is a vicious spawning ground for such nasty types as also-oily-haired Coach Wolf (Carsten Norgaard, a Dane) and his sirenish sidekick, Marria (Maria Ellingsen). It's going to take strength of character, not to mention serious elbow-charging, to beat the Icelanders at their own game. Most of all it's going to take Bombay, who needs to ditch the hair goop and get quacking. Are you ready for this?

"D2: The Mighty Ducks" is rated PG. It contains staged ice hockey violence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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