Reviewer’s grade: B
Rod Lurie, a film critic turned director, has a bad film (1999’s “Deterrence”) and a pretty good one (2000’s “The Contender”) among his feature film credits; “Resurrecting the Champ” falls somewhere between the two in quality.
Starring Samuel L. Jackson as a down-but-not-out former fighter and Josh Hartnett as an ambitious, emotionally damaged sports reporter, the film explores the mores of contemporary journalism and the complexity of father/son relationships. Its themes are compelling, and the acting is strong.
A script that tends toward the implausible and then ties everything up a bit too sentimentally keeps it from being as powerful in its exploration of both theme sets as it might have been. The questions this one raises about men’s emotional needs are important. I just wish the cinematic answers had been worthy of them. The film sometimes floats like a butterfly and occasionally stings like a bee, but it goes down on points. PG-13
“Kathryn Jenson White