D3: The Mighty Ducks

(Robert Lieberman, USA, 1996)


There is obviously something fishy about this third instalment in the Mighty Ducks series. Emilio Estevez’s name appears at top billing in the credits but, after an appearance in the opening scene, he disappears for over an hour of screen time.

And even when Emilio returns at just the right moment to get everybody out of a jam, he is still not very captivating.

D3 lazily serves up the usual mix of feel-good sporting thrills and mild teenage antics. The members of the Ducks ice hockey team – an equal-opportunity blend of races, genders, sizes and manners – move to a big, important college.

Their haughty fellow students look down on them as proletarian bums cashing in a politically-correct meal-ticket – which is essentially true.

But this is the kind of confection in which no baddie stays very bad for very long – not even the Ducks’ stern new coach, Orion (Jeffrey Nordling).

Beyond the formulaic moves of its plot, D3 offers a no less rigidly coded type of spectacle: cute kids on the ice, all whoosh and blur, sliding, aiming, firing and yelling to the beat of a bright Cajun tune.

© Adrian Martin April 1997

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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