In the poor area of Richmond, California, Ken Carter takes charge as a basketball coach, and fights his way to transform a team of rowdy boys into a team of accomplished men. Based on a true story.
There are way too many problems with COACH CARTER to call it great, but it certainly has its heart in the right place at the right time. The very first immediate problem is the script of the film. A lot of the dialogue feels like it has been overly simplified for its audience. Almost all of the actors play stock…characters, and that includes Jackson. Carter is extremely “in your face” and actually a bit obnoxious at times with all his yelling and screaming. However, with Jackson’s charisma, Jackson is able to pull it off. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for the other actors. Even though most of them try to act in a respectable manner, I felt like I had met the character already each time another new character was introduced. They are fairly good actors (except for the irritating Ashanti), so that helps the process, but they do not make enough of an effort to make the audience feel for them.
The brightest point in the whole film, which redeems it quite a bit, is the central theme of the film. The focus Carter took on education first, sports second, really made the film enjoyable in the end. The film does come with a recommendation if sports interest you at all. Now that I think about it, the only major problem that prevents this film from being great isn’t that it’s by-the-numbers, but rather that I have seen this formula many times before in much, much better films. There’s Friday Night Lights, Radio, and Miracle to name a few. All of these are inspirational tales consisting of coaches leading their teams to victory, many of which are based on true stories (just like COACH CARTER). Nothing really makes this film stand out, but if you like sports movies like the ones listed above, don’t mind ghetto talk, and are a big fan of basketball, then you can be sure you’ll still find plenty to love in this film. Besides, a movie with Sam “Bad-ass” Jackson can’t be totally bad, can it?
Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen on a single-sided, double-layered DVD. A lot of the transfer felt like it had not been given its due treatment. Take for example the setting of a ghetto so to speak. A lot of the film had this brownish tone to it lacking any kind of vivacity. The rest of the film’s colors were just fine but nothing I would show people to demonstrate what a good picture truly is. For example, there were numerous scenes of Jackson that made it difficult to make out the background or the little details of the scene.
Coach Carter is presented in English/French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround and English 5.1 DTS. The audio was rather crisp and easy to understand, with or without subtitles. The film had a very enjoyable audio mix, especially the music, which really felt like it went with each scene. Since this is an MTV film, the audience expects music to play a strong role, which had a very solid definition in the end.
I was a bit disappointed with the amount of extra’s on this disc considering the success of the film at the box office.
- Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie (19:41): A very nice featurette about the real life coach, as well as the true events portrayed in the movie. Most of it consists of interviews from the filmmakers, the basketball players, and the actual Ken Carter. A great watch for those who are interested in the man behind the purpose of this film.
- Fast Break at Richmond High (11:40): Another decent behind-the-scenes featurette, this time exploring how the basketball scenes were done in they movie, and how hard the actors had to work on them. Check this one out.
- Deleted Scenes (12:12): We get six of them, which if I’m correct, were all cut for time constraints. Some of them are humorous, while others include a bit more of the player’s lives and Carter’s personal life. I can see why these particular scenes were cut in the end as they do not really add much to the final product.
We also get a Music Video by Twista featuring Faith Evans, called “Hope”, as well as 4 Previews (The Longest Yard, Sahara, Laguna Beach, and the remake of Bad News Bears).
It’s hard to knock down a movie for it’s flaws when it has such a wonderful theme, so I’ll only say this: watch it if you like basketball, watch it if you love the sports genre, and watch it if you think Samuel L. Jackson is one bad-ass mother- SHUT YO MOUTH!
Seriously though, I recommend this movie to be seen by any teen that seems to be more wrapped up in sports than in school, which is (unfortunately) quite a lot.
Special Features List
- Two featurettes
- Six deleted scenes
- Music video