Director: David S. Ward
Producer: James G. Robinson and David S. Ward
Writer: R.J. Stewart
Cinematographer: Victor Hammer
by Jon Cvack
Continued from Part 1...
Wesley Snipes failed to return to play Willie Mayes Hayes, leaving Omar Epps to take the role, and doing a pretty great job actually, leaving me surprised by how quickly I accepted the change. Still, his character also succumbs to uninspired choices, deciding to abandon his fast running game and base stealing supremacy in order to hit more runs and focus on making action movies (leaving you wondering if this was a jab at Wesley Snipes decision not to return...). Though again we have to ask why he would try to develop a skill that he’s clearly not designed for, instead of doing what he does best for the team.
All of this information is presented in about the first five minutes, and I’m sure the Development Team was thinking it’d make us anxious as ever as to whether they’ll do as well as the previous year. The problem is we know what’s going to happen - we know that each character will return to what worked, in which case I rather see the original characters behave realistically and honestly than hide behind these cheap obstacles set up to simply differentiate them from the previous film. Or, even more forgiving, they could have at least had this movie take place five years or so later and lend some credibility to these changes. It’s just simply unbelievable that this would all occur in the subsequent season for a game that depends on consistency and ritual.
It couldn’t have been that hard to retain the original characteristics and provide new challenges. For instance, they could have cut Hayes, replacing him with a new player instead of the token Asian Guy Isuru Tanaka (Takaaki Ishibash; though it was interesting to discover that this movie was made right before many Asian Natives were brought into the MLB) with his weird and eccentric behavior, meeting nearly every offensive stereotype there is. I would retain Jake Taylor, as I thought it was a fantastic idea to have his knees go out and have him replace Manager Lou Brown (James Gammon), except Lou could have then officially retired. Instead of Buddhism it could have been interesting to see Pedro fall in love with some type of gold digger (instead of Vaughn) and lose his aggressive edge, something allowing us to see his original persona first, watch it fade, and then return again. The point is that while this film competed with D2: The Might Ducks (and with Charlie Sheen’s brother Emilio Estevez), the latter film got it right, not changing what worked, but simply adding more to what worked; retaining the great characters and their personalities, and bringing more onto the team.
It’s a sequel that makes you upset, knowing it didn’t have to be that bad. I just discovered there was a third sequel, launched as straight to video called Major League: Back to the Minors, which isn’t even available on Netflix DVD. Charlie Sheen announced in 2011 that a fourth was in the works, and I’d love to see it. To think of all the great sports films that blessed us throughout the late 80s and up to the mid 90s - The Sandlot, A League of Their Own, The Mighty Ducks and sequels, The Little Giants, The Big Green, and so many others - this could have been a solid series. Films like this are long overdue for a comeback and hopefully Major League will return with a solid conclusion.
BELOW: Not a terrible Big Scene, just uninspired
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