Genre: Drama, Sport
Based on a true story, 23 Blast hits on all cylinders as a family-friendly inspirational film. While you won’t find any heavy Christian lessons in this one, it’s the perfect movie for a Christian family to watch while snuggling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.
Available on Netflix, 23 Blast is about a high school football star, Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka), who suddenly becomes blind. Struggling with his new disability, he has to decide if he’s going to settle for sitting on the sidelines or get back in the game. 23 Blast also stars Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids, Do You Believe?), Stephen Lang (Avatar, Conan the Barbarian), Max Adler (Glee, Sully), and Bram Hoover (California Heaven).
Let’s start with the obvious…the acting is great! How could it not be? Just look at the cast’s resumes and you will see that they are well seasoned and know what they are doing. This is especially important because actors are portraying real people, not fictionalized characters. Mark Hapka gets a special shout out from me for portraying a newly-blind teen with class and honesty.
The production quality of the film was also great. The settings were so realistic that I found myself having flashbacks to all the high school football games I attended. One detail that stood out to me was the dancers. Almost all sports movies have cheerleaders, but few include dance team members in jazz uniforms. I know it doesn’t seem like an important detail to most, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference.
As for the story itself, get ready to break out the tissues! It addition to the humorous moments, there were scenes that really made you think about what it would be like, not only to be blind, but to face the possibility of never being able to do the thing you love the most. But then you see how faith and the right attitude changed the character’s life. It’s an emotional journey that will have audiences rooting for the characters’ victory.
At the end of the film, they show footage of the real people the characters are based on. This added touch is very much appreciated.
As mentioned, there aren’t any heavy Christian messages in this film. There are, however, Christian elements throughout. The man character is very attached to his cross necklace, Christian passages are referenced, and the man character becomes a pastor. I felt that these moments were enough to classify it as a Christian film and I didn’t think it needed a heavier message. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christian movies that make a strong point and educate unbelievers. But there is a time and a place for everything. I sometimes just want to relax and watch a fun movie where the main characters are Christians and everything is wholesome. That’s not an easy thing to find nowadays. Too often I’m faced with either watching a heavy Christian message, watching a secular film with questionable morals, or watching a film that was created before the 1950’s. So I guess you could say that 23 Blast helps fill a void in the film industry.
What Age Is It For?
23 Blast is family-friendly, but I wouldn’t say it is ideal for those under the age of 13. The reason I say this is that some drinking occurs and the characters deal with some serious topics and inner conflicts that would probably not resonate with a younger audience.
Looking To Show It At Church?
With the lack of a deep spiritual message, I wouldn’t recommend it for use in a sermon. However, as a movie for a youth night or sleepover, it would be great. It shows Christian teens in a really positive light and the sports theme is one that would resonate with many.