Directed by Danny Cannon, starring Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Marcel Iures, Stephen Dillane, Anna Friel, Kieran O'Brien, Sean Pertwee and Cassandra Bell.

'Roy of the Rovers' is given the Hollywood treatment in this enjoyable yet slightly far-fetched tale of rags-to-riches sporting success.

Santiago Munez (Becker) is a stereotypical Latin American teenager growing up in working class Los Angeles: football obsessed, hard working and with a keen eye for the ladies.

His dream, like those of millions, is to become a professional footballer, but the demands of two jobs and an unsupportive father - keen to see him involved in the family gardening business - seem to have extinguished any chance Munez may have had of making the grade.

However, fate intervenes and Munez is spotted on the amateur playing fields of LA by ex-professional and sometime scout Glen Foy (Dillane), who suggests he travels to the UK for trials with Premiership outfit Newcastle United.

What follows is a roller-coaster ride through the highs and lows of contemporary professional sport, albeit a ride riddled with clichéd characters and lightweight Hollywood sentiment.

The task of incorporating live football action into the film was obviously high on director Danny Cannon's modus operandi, and to his credit, the 'Judge Dredd' and 'I Still Know What You Did Last Summer' director has done an admirable job on this front.

Television shows like 'Footballers' Wives' and 'Dream Team' fail to capture the intensity and passion of a live match scenario (probably why they spend so much time in the bedroom), but 'Goal!' does recreate the football scenes to excellent effect.

Much of the on-pitch drama is credible and Cannon does manage to reel in the audience through clever cinematography and realistic commentary. Engrossing match-like drama is created using genuine Premiership footage interspersed with close-ups of the key actors, with the final match against Liverpool at St James' Park a fitting climax to the preceding action.

Cannon also captures the essence of what the game means to the football-mad people in England's industrial Northeast, translating the game's pivotal standing in everyday life with astute accuracy and wit.

Another memorable feature of the film is the Oasis-dominated soundtrack, with a stirring re-working of 'Cast No Shadow' the highlight as Munez puts himself through a gruelling workout on a picturesque seafront. 

While the credibility of the football could be described as Premiership standard, the dialogue, plot and acting that support it can only be described as Championship fare.

Mexican-born Becker gets away with an average performance that fails to fully engage despite his aesthetic suitability to the role, while his character tests the audience's patience with a string of avoidable misjudgements that threaten to ruin his chances of getting a permanent deal.

Meanwhile, Becker is ably supported by a strong supporting cast who impress despite the obvious limitations of their stereotypical roles.

Alessandro Nivola impresses as the controversial Gavin Harris, a newly signed striker who lives up to his hero status by indulging in all manner of temptations laid before him. His destructive influence on the naïve Munez endures some eventful moments before a timely pep talk sees Harris leave his bad-boy days behind to a typically Hollywood outcome.

Elsewhere, Newcastle manager Erik Dornhelm (Iures) has a convincing, almost Arsene Wenger-like presence, while Friel plays the love interest with her usual charm, despite a sometimes unconvincing Geordie accent.

'Goal!' has been created as a trilogy, with parts two and three set to follow Munez's progress from Newcastle to Real Madrid and then on to the 2006 World Cup.

The film has been given full FIFA backing and as a result there is a sense that much of the storyline has been watered down to enhance the game's appeal in the lucrative US market. However, with the support of Newcastle United, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Raul adding a sense of realism, the film also has sufficient substance to gain the approval of genuine football fans on this side of the Atlantic.

And while it's unlikely to overly impress the members of the Academy, there is certainly enough here to leave the audience eagerly anticipating the remaining instalments.

Shane Murray