The Longest Yard


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Review by Mike Rickard II

While the Rock may be seen as Hollywood’s resident wrestler turned actor (and Triple H as Hollywood’s resident wrestler turned wannabe actor), The Longest Yard shows that there are plenty of wrestlers who can help fill out a film’s supporting cast and maybe even star in a picture or two. The Longest Yard features a squad of wrestlers as well as several football players who add another level of enjoyment to what should prove to be the comedy smash of the summer.

The Longest Yard is a remake of the 1972 classic starring Burt Reynolds ( which pits an incarcerated ex-NFL quarterback against a warden set on playing a team of guards against a team of inmates. In this version Sandler’s character Paul Crewe finds himself incarcerated in a Texas prison after sending the police on a high speed chase to apprehend his drunken ass after he steals his girlfriend’s car. Crewe is introduced to Warden Hazen (played by the always excellent James Cromwell) whose guards are part of an inter-prison football league. Hazen wants Crewe to help his team regain their winning edge as part of his long-term goal of running for governor. A reluctant Hazen finds himself quarterbacking a team of inmates so the prison guards can get tuned up for their first game.

Can a Smokey and the Bandit remake be far behind? And will Chris Rock bring some much needed color to the role of Snowman?

Hilarity and high jinks galore ensue as Crewe teams up with Caretaker (Chris Rock), the guy who can get you anything you want in prison to form a team of prisoners. Unfortunately the motley team they assemble doesn’t seem up to the task until another inmate, Nate Scarboro (Burt Reynolds, who played Paul Crewe in the original); a former football player himself volunteers to coach the team. With Scarboro’s help, Crewe begins to form a team that will allow the prisoners to get their revenge on the guards and maybe even get the ultimate revenge by defeating them in front of a national television audience. Unbeknownst to everyone, Warden Hazen has no intention of Crewe’s team having a chance at winning.

This remake of the Longest Yard has got to be one of the best remakes that Hollywood has produced in quite a while. While it is faithful to the original story, it is much funnier than the original (which by the way is still a must-see movie). Sandler and Rock are both hilarious (although you’d never think Rock was a comedian judging by most of his films) and their on-screen chemistry is terrific.

What makes the Longest Yard a true Hall of Fame sports comedy is the tremendous supporting cast that fill out their parts. Whether its Nick Turturro playing Brucie, an inmate whose athletic ability (as well as sexuality) is in question, Cloris Leachman playing the warden’s ancient (but still horny) secretary, Terry Crews playing Cheeseburger Eddy, the prison’s hook-up for Mickey D’s, or William Fichtner as the prison’s brutal guard captain, Sandler and Rock have a tremendous supporting cast to work with. Even rapper Nelly gets into the act as Sandler’s star running back.

Bob Sapp explains to Sandler what pro wrestling,
K-1 and the U.S. electoral college have in common... "All three are works, little man."

Oh yes, and there’s the small army of wrestlers who have supporting roles in this film (which is why you’re reading it here on a wrestling site). “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Kevin Nash play two of the prison’s guards while Bob Sapp, Bill Goldberg, and Dalip “Giant” Singh play three of the monsters recruited for the inmates’ team. With the exception of Austin (who doesn’t exactly stretch his acting ability by playing a redneck guard), the wrestlers bring a lot to the table. Nash and Sapp are real stand-outs and it’s easy to see why Nash has been getting supporting parts in movies as of late. He plays a brutal prison guard who finds himself getting in touch with his feminine side after an unexpected brush with estrogen. Nash shows good range as he transforms from a brutal guard into a metrosexual one. Sapp is equally delightful as he plays an inmate with the strength and intelligence of an ox. Dalip Singh, a nearly 400 lb. wrestler from New Japan Pro Wrestling plays another one of the inmate team’s monsters and is fun to watch. Lastly, Bill Goldberg puts in a good performance as a powerful inmate who is hung like a dinosaur and just about as strong. Goldberg doesn’t get to do much but his scenes are memorable and it makes me think there may be hope for his Hollywood career.

Just like a championship football team, everyone does their job to perfection. Whether their role is small or large, everyone does their job well and it makes for a top-rate film. Sandler and Rock are funny as you would expect and Burt Reynolds does a terrific job playing the old veteran who lends his expertise to Sandler’s makeshift team. The film provides non-stop laughter and should be on comedy fan’s radar for the film to see this summer. Wrestling fans should get an extra kick out of seeing some of their favorite superstars appearing on the silver screen while laughing their ass off.

Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.