The Final Goal (1995)

The Final Goal (1995)Is this worth watching? When Erik Estrada has top billing, you know it’s cheesy time. The best line in The Final Goal is when Estrada’s henchman tells him, “You should have been an actor.”

Estrada is the bad guy bribing 6 players to lose a semi-final game in the Global Cup. The only thing in his way is backup goalkeeper Steven Nijjar, who BTW is also a master of martial arts.

Yes, The Final Goal is watchable. Despite the budget, the film has 30 minutes of pretty fair martial arts scenes and 20 acceptable soccer minutes for the semi-final game. The portrayal of what players do to lose a soccer game is clever. Although the GK’s ethnicity is not mentioned, the story follows a Sikh warrior arc, as creator Nijjar believes that

Sikhs are warriors. It’s in our DNA, we’re put here to defend good versus evil.

On the other hand, this film suffers from low-budget production values and nonsensical weaknesses in the script. For example, Estrada is fixing the game for the benefit of 2 people. One of them owns a baseball team, and Estrada proposes to expose the bribes he has paid after the Cup. The ensuing outrage, he explains, will spur soccer fans to switch to baseball. Seriously.

The bad guys keep killing players too, which you’d think would be the easiest way to ensure a loss. Estrada only leaves his high-rise office one time in the whole movie, literally phoning in his menacing performance. Presumably that was due to budget constraints. Even the team’s practices look worse than a pickup game: only 11 players, and one wears jeans and sneakers.

This movie was the first feature film for Director Jon Cassar, who went on to direct the TV series 24 and La Femme Nikita. The action scenes are good, but I wonder how much control he had of the story.

This film seems designed to showcase the unique physical talents of Nijjar. So in doing the research, I was shocked to discover that Steven Nijjar was actually a professional goalkeeper for the Toronto Blizzard, owned a Canadian pro team (Brampton Hitmen), and went on to produce a 2008 reality TV series called Soccer Dreams, similar to Suenos MLS.

Nijjar patterned his career after Sylvester Stallone’s: writing scripts and then producing and starring in them. In Nov-2015, Nijjar released The Last King, an action movie about the last Sikh king of Punjab. Unfortunately, this career strategy has only worked well for Stallone.

The DVD is in STD DEF and has no extras. It is rated R, maybe because of the violence and some sexual scenes. But there is actually no frontal nudity and I don’t recall much profanity. If you want to watch a kung fu soccer movie, this is not a bad choice.

SoccerMovieMom Rating = 4


Released: 1995-01-01 (USA)
Director: Jon Cassar
Steven Nijjar, Erik Estrada