The Wild Soccer Bunch

 
(i)

 

Not much soccer in coming-of-age translated dud.
  • Review Date: January 16, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Through fierce determination and teamwork, victory is possible.

Positive role models

Leon learns that there is more to life than winning at soccer.

Violence

Occasional bullying and taunting. A group of older kids on skateboards make fun of and issue verbal threats to the Wild Soccer Bunch. In order to seal their memberships in the Wild Soccer Bunch, each player takes a large pirate-style knife to his thumb and cuts, leaving a bloody thumbprint on a piece of paper.

Sex

Tweens kiss, and begin to realize their interest in the opposite sex.

Language

Some language including "crap," "hell," and "dammit."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A soccer coach on an opposing team smokes a cigar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Wild Soccer Bunch is a poorly translated 2005 German movie without much actual soccer. Early in the movie, the several boys and one girl who comprise The Wild Soccer Bunch are shown urinating against a fence, with each pee stream visible. Some bullying and name-calling runs throughout the movie, as well as a storyline about a girl realizing her feelings for the opposite sex.

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What's the story?

In order to compete on the national stage, a ragtag group of soccer-crazed tweens called THE WILD SOCCER BUNCH needs to figure out a way to get the money to upgrade their soccer field. While they undertake various schemes to make that happen, they must contend with a group of older skateboarding bullies led by the dreadlocked Gonzo Gonzales. In spite of Gonzo's bad-boy behavior, Vanessa -- the only girl in the WSB, and their best player -- feels attracted to him, and goes so far as to quit her team in order to spend time with Gonzo. Without Vanessa, the WSB is destined to lose. It's up to Leon to come to grips with his feelings for Vanessa, and it's up to the team to figure out a way to get Vanessa out of Gonzo's possessive clutches, and, ultimately, they must learn that there is more to life than playing soccer and winning with your team.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The biggest problem with The Wild Soccer Bunch is that there is next to no soccer until the 52-minute mark. The next biggest problem is the translation from German to English; while there are some attempts to "Americanize" the story by, for instance, having the team try to get into the NASL, those moments feel forced and unnecessary, and there's an overall impression of humor and cultural references that don't carryover well. With these two issues at play, the overall result is a letdown of a movie for parents and kids expecting lots of soccer action and, instead, getting a tweenaged love triangle of sorts.

It's a confusing movie filled with nonsensical characters -- like the lead bad teen bully who seems to dabble in the occult for no discernible reason, or the evil banker father to one of the boys in the Wild Soccer Bunch who's determined to stop them from having a decent playing field. Even if the translation had been better, this is still a soccer-themed movie that fails to live up to its potential.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about sports-themed coming-of-age movies. Is this a good combination?

  • As a movie made in Germany and translated into English, what were some parts of the movie that felt unique to German culture? What aspects felt universal?

  • Think of how bullying was addressed in this movie. How does this compare to the way bullying is addressed in favorite movies and TV shows, as well as in real life?

Movie details

DVD release date:January 1, 2011
Cast:Jimi Blue Ochsenknecht, Raban Bieling, Sarah Kim Gries
Director:Joachim Masannek
Studio:Phase 4 Films
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Wild Soccer Bunch was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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