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Shout Factory presents
Fight On! An Inside Look at the 2005 USC Trojans (2006)

"That was one of those games when you could feel Reggie's will."
- USC football coach Pete Carroll, on the performance of running back Reggie Bush in the team's victory over Notre Dame

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: March 13, 2006

Stars: Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Pete Carroll
Other Stars: Vince Young, LenDale White, Brady Quinn, Charlie Weis, Carl Weathers
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:47m:53s
Release Date: March 14, 2006
UPC: 826663100808
Genre: sports

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- BB-B B-

DVD Review

If you're not a diehard USC football fan, it's hard to imagine your wanting to spend time watching this DVD, much less reading this review. But for those of us who are part of the Trojan Nation, this is a nice, quick way to revisit the recently concluded season, one that didn't have the storybook Hollywood ending for which we had hoped. What this is, principally, are snippets from the locker room, new interviews with USC's headliners, a bit of game footage, and lots and lots of muscled guys hollering at one another and then looking to hit somebody.

Recapping: USC won the national championship in 2003 and again in 2004, and were looking for their third straight in the fall of 2005. They were led by head coach Pete Carroll, 2004 Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Matt Leinart, and eventual 2005 Heisman winner running back Reggie Bush. After a perfect regular season, USC lost in the 2006 Rose Bowl, to the University of Texas—the performance by Longhorns quarterback Vince Young was one for the ages, though I don't think it's taking anything away from Young's achievement to say that the Trojan defense looked shredded, tired and lost for much of the game. This documentary goes game by game through the regular season, one in which the two-time champs had targets on their back each week—they rolled past Hawaii and Arkansas before going into Pac 10 conference play.

There's not a lot of drama to all of this, really—mostly, the documentary amounts to: They beat this team, and then they beat that team, and then they beat another team the next week. The filmmakers get Carroll, Leinart and Bush to sit for interviews, along with a couple of other players, including center Ryan Kalil and defensive end Lawrence Jackson—this is for the faithful, so there's no talk of Leinart's punishing academic schedule, consisting of a single class in ballroom dancing. The crew seems not to have gotten access to the best game footage, either—a highlight package on ESPN does a better job of conveying the drama of the last-second win over Notre Dame, for instance, probably the apex of the Trojans' season.

The film pays its respects to the Texas victory, in USC's backyard, no less—and though Bush and Leinart are off to the NFL, hope springs eternal for the citizens of Troy, as the Southern Cal football juggernaut rolls on. Put on your cardinal and gold, meet me under Tommy Trojan, and beat UCLA!

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Adequate transfer, though rather high on contrast.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Yes, that's Apollo Creed's voice you're hearing—Carl Weathers provides the narration track, which is generally clear, especially on the seemingly infinite renditions of the USC fight song.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The More Series, Dodger Blue: The Championship Years, The Great American Baseball Box
6 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Six featurettes give you the chance to swoon just a little bit more over the men of Troy. First is a look (05m:16s) at Reggie Bush's place in Trojan history, with Bush, Carroll, and Mike Garrett, former SC star and now the school's athletic director—the featurette is a reminder that there's nothing quite as boring as watching other people watching television, as much of what's here is the three of them reacting to clips. The next two focus on Leinart, a man too big for a single featurette—the first (01m:49s) goes over his childhood, and includes interview footage with his father, discussing Matt's surgery to correct his being cross-eyed; the second (04m:12s) is a look at his high school career, and at his onetime mentor, former Trojans offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Next is a look (07m:25s) at the 2006 recruiting class, and an appreciation (03m:37s) of the L.A. Coliseum. Finally, you can watch (08m:40s) the seniors' speeches to the team after their win over UCLA—it's Leinart's farewell, and inexplicably in the room is the Fonz, Henry Winkler.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Even if the Rose Bowl loss still stings, this is a fine way to tide yourself over until spring practice and the first game of the '06 season. See you at the Coliseum.


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