The Mighty Ducks

1992, PG, 100 min. Directed by Stephen Herek. Starring Emilio Estevez, Joss Ackland, Lane Smith, Heidi Kling.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 2, 1992

Q: Why a duck? ¶ A: Because the Bad News Bears was already taken. ¶ In The Mighty Ducks Gordon Bombay (Estevez) is the type of lawyer who gives the profession a bad name. We get a taste of his take-no-prisoners litigation style during the film's opening moments. Also, we get a flashback to a crucial missed penalty shot during a childhood championship game -- a primal memory that has obviously shaped his life. Even his vanity license plates read “JustWin.” But those plates offer no protection when he's popped for drunken driving during a Minneapolis snowstorm. Along the way, mention is made of this being something like his twelfth arrest on the same charge. So, to satisfy his five hundred hours of community service, Gordon Bombay (I just love that name, doesn't it sound like some kind of tall, iced, gin refreshment?) becomes the coach of a municipal Pee Wee League ice hockey team. Now this is the type of guy we'd all want supervising our kids. The lessons that Gordon Bombay is going to have to learn before this movie is through are screamingly obvious and predictable. That doesn't stop it from marching ahead with sometimes less than fluid narrative structure. Herek, the director of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure should have been capable of tweaking more from this story. I've got to give it credit for one really neat effect that creates the illusion of a puck-cam capturing the POV of a hockey puck as it's hurtling through the air. The rest of the time, The Mighty Ducks may satisfy the Pee Wee hockey players in your household but the rest of you may be turned off by the simplified penance and redemption formula and the “it's not whether you win or lose”-type moral lessons. I can understand why these unknown child actors were involved with this movie but, as for the grown-ups all I can figure is that they were each fulfilling some kind of community service obligation.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More The Mighty Ducks
Five Pack
Five Pack
Li'l Cap'n Travis

Michael Bertin, July 28, 2000

More Stephen Herek Films
Man of the House
Filmed in Austin with Tommy Lee Jones, Man of the House is nothing to write home about.

Marjorie Baumgarten, March 4, 2005

Life or Something Like It
Let's play an association game. Angelina Jolie is to Life or Something Like It as Tiffany's is to a suburban strip mall. Clarification: Just as ...

Kimberley Jones, April 26, 2002

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
This Job Will Change Your Life
This Job Will Change Your Life
Former staff reflect on the zigs and zags of life post-Chronicle

Sept. 3, 2021

Story of America's itinerant population wanders too much

Feb. 19, 2021


The Mighty Ducks, Stephen Herek, Emilio Estevez, Joss Ackland, Lane Smith, Heidi Kling

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle