A few weeks back, I sat down to watch a film (that I have yet to review) staring Keanu Reeves called
The Replacements. Watching that film, it reminded me of just how much it was like a football film
I had seen a number of years earlier. Of course, some of the story details are different, but one cannot
deny the parallels between the two films, made nine years apart.
But this is not a review for The Replacements. The film here is Necessary Roughness.
Scott Bakula stars as a promising former High School quarterback who dropped out of the running
for college and football to maintain the family farm after the death of his father. He is given the
opportunity to take a second chance at both football and college when the Texas State football team is
dismantled in disgrace after a corruption scandal. The new coaching staff has called upon the 34-year-old
freshman to return to school and lead what little team they can make up from the student body.
Made during the height of the television series Quantum Leap, Scott Bakula tried to leap from the
small screen to the big screen. This was really his first feature lead off the Television, and he carries
the film quite well. Frankly, his role of "Sam Becket" on Quantum Leap is what took me into the theater
to see this film in the first place.
Paramount has presented this DVD with a new 16x9 transfer from a very clean source print. I found the
transfer quite natural and never noticed any pixilation or excessive use of edge enhancements. It is much
better than some of the other Paramount product that has been issued lately.
Paramount has commissioned a new 5.1 Dolby Surround soundtrack for this release - as they have done with
several other of their films from the 1980s and 1990s. The soundtrack is lack-luster, with very little
directionality or split surround effects. The original Dolby Surround track is also present, and to my
listening, creates a more active soundfield. As with most Dolby Digital soundtracks, I found the center
channel dialog too soft for the rest of the soundtrack and found quite passages too quiet and the loud
portions very loud. This required constant tweaking of the volume throughout the film. I can fault the
producers of the soundtrack for this - just my normal Dolby Digital soundtrack complaining.
The menu system utilized by Paramount on this title is very generic. There are no supplements other than
a trailer, so the menus are relegated to audio/subtitle setup and the scene selection menus. For the cost
of this DVD, you would think that Paramount could have included something. But as with most of their
catalog titles (and many new titles too), the DVD presents just the film and very little else.
The LaserDisc edition of the film was issued during the initial video release phase of the film back
in April of 1992. At the time, Paramount was releasing dual Widescreen and Full Frame versions of their
titles on LaserDisc. The only copy available for this review was the widescreen edition. Other than the
typical enhancements one would expect from a new 16x9 transfer and the new soundtrack, these presentations
are fairly similar. While Necessary Roughness is not one of the best football films made, and Kathy
Ireland is not on screen anywhere near enough, seeing it again after a number of years was enjoyable. The
DVD from Paramount is a good representation of the film.