The Bad News Bears Go to Japan DVD Review

The most you can expect, generally at least, is a sequel to your favorite film that's tolerable. That didn't happen with the Bad News Bears. Things only continued to fall from there with the third and (mercifully) final movie in a series that shouldn't have been a series. Bad News Bears Go to Japan is just as lazy as the title makes it out to be.

This isn't even a movie about the Bad News Bears. Most of the kids are gone (and there's no explanation as to where they went), and even fewer have more lines than you can count on one hand. Kelly is the only the one who gets any adequate screen time, romancing a Japanese girl even though he can't speak her language. The same goes for the American audience who is left out of most of the conversation, with no subtitles to explain the foreign dialogue.

Making even less sense is a 20-minute farce right in the middle of this disaster involving respected Japanese pro wrestler Inoki. It's included (and extended) only to kill time. It's an embarrassment for everyone involved, even the blatantly obvious stunt double.

The script was penned by Bill Lancaster, who would also dabble in the short lived TV series a year later and he wrote the original. There was nothing for him to do other than follow around the now third "coach" played by Tony Curtis. The rest of the film is padding, simply showing off the sights of Japan, which is far more interesting than anything involving the characters is.

Baseball is sporadically included and then forgotten. You wouldn't be wrong in forgetting this is a sports movie. You also shouldn't be embarrassed to know that the text on your popcorn bag is more interesting. The only thing good to come from this film is that some kids managed to seize a trip to Japan. It's a shame they had to act in this to get there. (No stars out of *****)

Video quality is about on par with the other two films, with some slightly heavier grain in spots. The print has sadly been preserved, without a scratch. Detail isn't particularly high, but it's adequate for the time, and certainly better than it deserves. (***)

The only audio option is 2.0 mono. It's somewhat muted and scratchy, though with half of the dialogue being in a language you likely don't understand, that's not important. There's obviously no bass to comment on. (**)

The disc comes with no extras. However, it should be noted the captions are completely off, changing and chopping off words with regularity. It doesn't make the film any worse (that would be hard to do), but for some people with disabilities, that will make a difference. (No stars)

There is one moment in the movie worth watching, and that's a brief commercial (that has no other purpose in the film). It's a cheap shot at the Godzilla films which at the point this movie was made, had completely collapsed. It's not particularly funny or entertaining, just a sign that two franchises had completely fallen from grace.

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