Resurrecting The Champ claims to be “inspired” by a true story written by J.R. Moehringer for the Los Angeles Times Magazine. I’m not very well versed in the original story, so I won’t bore you with any attempt to justify the film against actual events. I only hope that the real Moehringer wasn’t a tenth the idiot that Erik is in this film. Perhaps so close on the heels of the Tomase Spygate fiasco it’s not as hard to believe that a reporter could be this gullible.
Erik (Hartnett), a sports reporter, is living in the shadow of a father who was considered a great in the business. He appears to have a job strictly because of his name. He certainly doesn’t have the respect of his editors. One night he comes upon a group of teenage punks beating up on an old homeless man. After checking to see if the old dude is okay, the man tells him that his name is Bob Satterfield. Erik doesn’t even know that that was the name of a boxing legend until the paper’s magazine editor is intrigued by Erik’s recounting of his meeting with “The Champ”. Something should have clicked in Erik’s mind immediately when the editor expresses the belief that Satterfield is dead. He’s blinded by ambition and a chance to escape the towering image of his father and make his own name. He’s encouraged to do an in-depth story on Satterfield. Along the way the two men bond and Erik is regaled by heroic story after epic tale of The Champ’s famous exploits. All the while the reporter ignores mounting evidence that this man is not likely who he claims to be. The story is a hit and opens doors for Erik he never dreamed he’d see. Showtime wants him to be on their boxing coverage, and the world appears ripe for the taking, that is until word hits that it’s all a lie. The man Erik knows as Satterfield is in reality a two bit boxer who tried to make a career out of imitating The Champ. Satterfield’s life should come tumbling down, but the film doesn’t even get that part right and Erik never really pays for his dishonesty and naiveté. I love the lines where he compares writing to boxing. I’ve been writing for years, and usually there isn’t some 300 pound guy trying to knock out my lights between words. Writing’s like boxing? Who would have thunk it? I need to start looking into getting hazard pay.
The film is really a tale of two actors. One doing an incredible job putting in a stellar performance against type. Of course, I’m talking about Samuel L. Jackson.
The script is simply idiotic and the acting is, for the most part, sub par. Unfortunately buried in all of this waste of a movie is a compelling show by Jackson who shows a ton of heart trying to keep this thing going. And I’m not just saying that because
Resurrecting The Champ is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colors were quite natural looking but never really jumped out at me. There was a certain darkness to this film, even in areas it didn’t really need to be. Black levels were pretty much average. I did encounter some compression artifact that hurt in that department. There aren’t any defects in the print, and it’s a perfectly average affair.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track was pretty weak. There was almost no real use of surrounds, or the subs for that matter. Dialog is always fine, and there really isn’t anything to complain about here it simply never excites. There isn’t a terribly busy musical score, so those sounds went, for the most part, largely unnoticed. It’s fine for a typical television style presentation, but that’s not what this was.
There is an audio commentary with director Rod Lurie. While Lurie is extremely talkative and quite informative, I got the feeling he opted to remain very unrealistic about the final product. He comes across as feeling he’s left us with a masterpiece. He has left us with a piece, but the argument might be over a piece of what?
Cast And Crew Interviews: This six minute feature is not very deep at all. It’s very touchy feely and looks more like a self serving promotional piece. Hey, they used some real homeless folks on the film. Josh and the others remark how good of an actor
Featurette: This plays like a nearly 5 minute trailer. Very much a fluff piece. Look. They didn’t even care enough to come up with a more clever name for this thing than Featurette.
I’m a huge