“Thunderstruck”, a kid’s movie about a high school teenager (who, you know, can actually pass for a high school teenager, and not a 20-seomthing Luke Perry “playing” a high school teenager) who magically inherits the basketball skills of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, is not exactly the kind of movie we review very often on BeyondHollywood.com. But today we’re making an exception, because Durant is a swell fella, and I like basketball movies, so why the hell not.
When Brian, a hopelessly uncoordinated young fan magically switches talents with his basketball hero (NBA Superstar Kevin Durant, playing himself), he becomes the star of his high school team while Kevin Durant suddenly can’t make a shot to save his life. But with the playoffs approaching, Brian learns that being a true winner involves working hard at your own game, and he tries to make things right in time to prevent a catastrophic end to his hero’s season.
Starring Kevin Durant as himself (way to stretch it, KD), with Taylor Gray, James Belushi, Brandon T. Jackson, Doc Shaw, and Tristin Mays. John Whitesell, a longtime TV vet, directs this joint.
Kevin Durant is no Shaquille O’Neal, and “Thunderstruck” is no “Kazaam”, but Durant does a reasonably serviceable job as, well, himself. He’s surrounded by a game cast, with James Belushi as the old school and zany basketball coach and Brandon T. Jackson (“Percy Jackson”) as Durant’s high-strung agent. Doc Shaw is amusing as the best friend, while Taylor Gray looks the part of the teen who dreams of basketball greatness, and apparently even has some real-life ball-handling skills to boot. That never hurts. He’s no Zac Efron, of course, but who is?
Obviously “Thunderstruck” is a kid’s wish fulfillment movie, where the teenager gets to become his favorite star/athlete/wish through magical device (in this case, a simple “transfer” between the two characters after they both touch a basketball). There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and that’s part of the genre’s conceit. Just go with it, as the saying goes. Much of “Thunderstruck” is spent with Brian as he discovers his newfound skills, impresses everyone at school (our hero is a bit of a joke, his constant failures put on YouTube by classmates for ridicule), gets the girl (Tristin Mays), and gets revenge on his tormentor. Eventually, he learns to be himself. You know, that kind of stuff.
“Thunderstruck” is the kind of movie that will eventually end up on the Disney channel or Nickelodeon and do very well with the young audience. Kids won’t care too much that Brian doesn’t so much as “gets” Kevin Durant’s basketball abilities as he sort of develops superpowers. Pretty soon he’s leaping over cars and dunking over everyone. But like I said — it’s a kids movie, and that’s just one of its “go with it” elements.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the film on standard DVD and Blu-ray disc. Bonus content include a handful of short featurettes, including “KD’s Klinic”, “From Blackboards to Clapboards”, “Coach Z”, and a short video blog by co-star Tristin Mays. You also get four deleted scenes for a total of just under 5 minutes.
Want to grab a free copy of “Thunderstruck” on Blu-ray? Head here for details.