By Chaz Lipp
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Thunderstruck (2012) on Blogcritics.
Anyone who has seen Teen Wolf, Slam Dunk Ernest, or Like Mike will have Thunderstruck
figured out early on. Sixteen-year-old Brian (Taylor Gray) is a
terrible basketball player and a target of ridicule at his high school.
After Brian badly botches a half-court-shot contest at a Thunder game
one night, Durant signs a basketball for him as a consolation prize.
Their respective basketball abilities magically switch with the exchange
of the autographed ball. Durant becomes a joke overnight, while Brian
becomes the start of his school team.
That’s all anyone should need to get the idea of what kind of a movie Thunderstruck
is. Durant’s agent, Alan (Brandon T. Jackson), frantically tries to
pull his star client out of this mysterious slump. Brian becomes adored
by his peers, even catching the eye of the school hottie, Isabel
(Tristin Mays). James Belushi is on hand as Coach Amross. Belushi gets
the most laughs, predictable given the relative greenhorn status of most
of the cast. His real-life son Robert has a few funny moments as the
school team’s assistant coach (who finally saw Hoosiers recently, much to Coach Amross’ embarrassment).
The real comic potential would’ve been in seeing Durant screwing up.
Instead we just get a few brief shots of real game clips with Durant
missing the odd shot or free throw. On the other hand, the cast is
appealing and unaffected. Durant won’t win any acting awards for this,
but he underplays to good effect. He’s not trying to be funny or cool.
He simply maintains a natural, likable presence.
A few supplemental features are included. Four short featurettes, all
basically promotional fluff, offer some glimpses behind-the-scenes. We
meet the enthusiastic young cast and get to hear lots of praise of
Durant’s acting ability. About five minutes of deleted scenes offer a
few bland bits from the cutting room floor. There’s nothing special
here, but it’s nice that Warner at least included a few tidbits that
kids might enjoy.