What more can be done with a gimmick that has a ragtag bunch of kids cussing and swearing their way toward a baseball championship to justify a sequel? Have them cuss and swear some more, of course. This time around the Bears go on a road trip. The scenery might be different but the attempted shock value is the same. And with the comedic value of kids talking like a bitter pirate with hemorrhoids and smoking already long played out mid-way through the first film, the feeling for this sequel The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training is more akin to pulling off fingernails one by one.
The Bears are back wanting to participate in a game at the fancy, new Astrodome in Houston, Texas. This presents a couple of issues: the team needs a coach to be eligible and they need to drive there yet nobody on the team is old enough to have a license. But that doesn’t stop the Bears. They pile into a van and make their half way across the country.
The original Bad News Bears was moderately amusing because it offered something different and shocking, kind of like a new generation of the Little Rascals, only updated for a more cynical and edgy generation. The walking curmudgeon Walter Matthau didn’t hurt either. Breaking Training offers nothing new. Perhaps someone didn’t tell director Michael Pressman that the shock factor was gone.
It’s also amazing to see how horrible the Bears became at baseball such a short time after their championship run. Seeing them boot the ball around like they’d never seen one before makes zero sense and no reasonable explanation is given either other than it being a plot device to add a little more drama.
Other than the team looking to make their way to Houston and to compete in the Astrodome, the only thing resembling a storyline is team leader Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley) searching for his father. This subplot offers a little added depth but it feels more like a way of filling the void the Bears have with no coach. William Devane plays Mike Leak, which is little more than a retread of Matthau’s Morris Buttermaker from the first film.
In fact, retread is the theme in this sequel that is nothing but a low-budget excuse to cash in off a box office hit. The trend must have continued as this wasn’t the end of the Bears journey. The following year things would get even worse with another sequel, The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.
The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training Gallery