DVD Review: Resurrecting the Champ
By Jeff Swindoll Apr 9, 2008, 11:22 GMT
Sportswriter Erik Kernan (Hartnett) wants nothing more than to discover a story great enough to make headlines. So when he meets Champ (Jackson), a former boxing champion living on the streets, he knows he has a shot to save them both. Recording his newfound friend\'s unbelievable tale of triumph and defeat, Kernan gets his story and his fame. But as Champ\'s tale falls under more scrutinizing eyes, Kernan will have ...more
An aspiring reporter stops some thugs from beating up a homeless guy and finds the story of a lifetime. However, when that story also threatens to destroy his career he has to re-examine his life and decide what’s important to him – his family or his reputation.
Sports writer Erik Kernan, Jr. (Josh Hartnett) is living in the shadow of his father, a famous sports broadcaster. His editor, Ralph Mertz (Alan Alda), isn’t giving him the stories that he wants because he doesn’t think that Erik puts his heart into his work.
One night he saves a homeless man from some college thugs. The man says that he’s Bob Satterfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and was a former great boxer. Erik’s life has fallen on hard times. He’s separated from his wife (Kathryn Morris) and has to lie to his son (Dakota Goyo) about all the famous sports figures that he claims to know.
Erik is lunching with Whitley (David Paymer) about writing a feature for the paper’s insert magazine. Erik claims that Mertz shoots down all of his story ideas, but when asked by Whitley to name some of them he only is able to come up with a collection of ideas that Whitley has heard before. He thinks back to his encounter with the homeless Champ and pitches the idea to Whitley.
Whitley says that his father used to worship Satterfield and that he could’ve made it all the way to the championship. Whitley likes the idea of the story and Erik lies that he pitched it to Metz and he shot it down.
The story runs and the worlds Erik’s oyster and earns him a shot interviewing the winner of the big fight by Andrea Flak (Teri Hatcher). However, a revelation about he subject of his story threatens to bring all of that crashing down.
Resurrecting the Champ is based on a LA Times Magazine story by J.R. Moehringer. If you’ve read that piece you know that a compelling and well-written bit of journalism that is. The movie translates all of that to the screen. If you’ve read the story then you know that the events of the film don’t exactly follow the story in the film.
For one, Moehringer discovers the Champ’s secret and angles his story to reflect the fact. The more suspenseful way the film is done for the suspense but I got the impression the way the film was going to turn out by the trailer. However, that shouldn’t keep you away since the performances are golden.
Samuel L. Jackson plays the Champ with raspy nobility and one that has truly been downtrodden by life. The Champ had it all and the glory that went along with it but he suffered a downfall and ended up on the streets.
The story is also about fathers and sons. Erik has lived in the shadow of his famous father and has fallen short and now Erik finds that he might be making the same mistake with his son.
Josh Hartnett does well in the role and brings a certain pathos as the reporter with a problem. Alan Alda throws down his likeability in a role as far away from Hawkeye Pierce as you can get. It’s a fine film with excellent performances.
Resurrecting the Champ is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include a commentary from director Rod Lurie. Next is a 4-minute featurette, but it plays like an electronic press kit.
There are also 6 minutes of cast and crew interviews, but they’re so short that they’re over by the time they get interesting. Finally there’s the 2-minute theatrical trailer and trailers for other Fox DVDs.
The Champ raises his gloves in victory, as the film is a knockout. The performances are great with special kudos going to Samuel L. Jackson. It’s too bad that they didn’t put the original article on the disc as a PDF, but a quick search of the Internet will find it and it’s excellent as well.