Resurrecting the Champ
Living on the streets of Denver, pushing a shopping cart piled high with all his worldly possessions, the man everyone calls “The Champ” (Samuel L. Jackson) knows he was not the greatest boxer to ever step in the ring, but at least he had a shot at it. After years of succumbing to fighters who ultimately found his glass jaw more often than he landed a winning punch, the Champ went from up-and-coming to mere has-been, with no heavyweight championship under his belt. Now the man who once went by the legendary title of “Battling Bob Satterfield” fights no one but cops and street thugs. Living in the shadow of his former self, this champ is down and halfway out.
Denver Times sports reporter Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett) knows the feeling. He’s been living in the shadow of his famous father Erik the “Wow” man Kernan ever since he too decided to be a journalist. Listening to tapes of his old man’s lively radio broadcasts — Erik is aware that he has some big journalistic shoes to fill. Assigned to cover all the bush-league sporting events, he wants a shot and the big time, but his hard-driving editor Metz (Alan Alda) is quick to tell Erik he’s just not cutting it.
“I forget your pieces while I’m reading them,” Metz complains. “A lotta typing – not much writing.”
Rapidly losing ground at work and at home – his wife Joyce (Kathryn Morris) has asked for a separation – Erik is afraid of becoming an absent father to his son Teddy (Dakota Goyo) just like his father was to him. He needs to make changes, to put heart back into his life and into his work . . . but how?
There are many moral issues resurrected in this film. The difference between right and wrong, accepting the consequences of one’s actions, forgiveness, and setting the record straight are all positive moral aspects of “Resurrecting the Champ”. The messages run deep in this well written and beautifully acted drama. I don’t think Samuel L. Jackson shouted one single line in the entire film. The redemptive theme is thoughtfully presented and is one for all of us to note and take to heart in our own lives.
The film lets us down however in the area of graphic foul language. It is peppered with it throughout the film. In addition, the characters drink to excess in many scenes which all combines to eliminate what would otherwise be a wonderfully uplifting film. As it is, we cannot award the Dove Seal. One can only hope that Hollywood will soon resurrect the by-gone days where one could go into the theater and not be bombarded with four letter words and blatant obscene language. Whatever studio gets that message will be my “Champ”!