I seem to be on a Major League kick lately, though this viewing was prompted by coming across Major League II available for free on YouTube. Released in 1994, this flick serves as sequel to the original Major League. Many of the original cast returned for this installment of the series, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Corbin Bernsen. However, Omar Epps replaced Wesley Snipes in playing Willie Mays Hayes, and a number of new cast members also appear in this film.
In this installment, the Indians have become complacent and arrogant after their success in the previous season/movie and they start losing games due to their poor performance and attitude. For example, Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn is so caught up in trying to impress the media and his new girlfriend that he has lost his fastball and his edge. Instead, he begins to rely on ineffective breaking balls, for which he has given nicknames such as “Eliminator” and “Humiliator.” Former voodoo practitioner Pedro Cerrano has converted to Buddhism, which has made him so peaceful and passive that he’s lost his power as a hitter. Willie Mays Hayes has become a movie star and has injured his knee, making him unable to run fast or hit well, and he therefore now fancies himself a power hitter.
Meanwhile, Roger Dorn, the former third baseman, has bought the team from Rachel Phelps, the former owner who wanted them to lose, but he doesn’t have the funds to pay the players or improve the facilities. Additionally, at the end of spring training, manager Lou Brown informs catcher Jake Taylor that he is keeping him on as a coach rather than a player. Jake is upset and rejects the offer at first, but then reluctantly accepts the position.
The team also faces challenges from the newer members of its roster. Jack Parkman is a selfish and arrogant catcher who joins the Indians, but later leaves for their rivals, the Chicago White Sox. Isuro “Kamikaze” Tanaka is a Japanese outfielder who clashes with Cerrano over their cultural differences. Rube Baker is a rookie catcher who has trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher because he gets nervous.
Faced with no other options, Dorn sells the Indians back to Rachel Phelps. With the Indians positioned in last place, Phelps decides this is the perfect opportunity to revive her dream to try to move the team to Florida. The team continues on in a chaotic, disunified vein that culminates in an all-team on-field brawl that leads to their ejection.
In the end, the Indians manage to overcome their difficulties and take off on a hot streak that allows them to make it to the playoffs, where they face the White Sox in a decisive game. The players have regained their old spark and end the film with a World Series berth.
All in all, I can’t say I enjoyed this film as much as the original. It has its moments, for sure, but it is not the original Major League. It largely mirrors the plot of just about every other sports sequel — a team growing complacent and losing its spark. As someone who enjoys baseball movies in general, I can’t honestly discourage anyone from watching this movie, because a part of me did still enjoy it. Just don’t go in with any expectations that it will match its predecessor.