Resurrecting The Champ (Alliance, 2007) D: Rod Lurie, w/ Josh Hartnett, Samuel L. Jackson. Rating: NN; DVD package: NNN
Director Rod Lurie’s commentary is amazing. He devotes most of it to telling us what he did wrong. From choosing to de-saturate the colour and leaving in scenes he should have cut, to his biggest blunder, trying to add in too many layers, Lurie lays out his mistakes with clear explanations and no excuses.
Late in the movie, he points to one scene that the research indicates the viewers liked best; then he explains precisely why it isn’t very good. That’s like telling the audience we’re wrong. Lurie deserves a medal. Nobody does what he’s done.
The movie isn’t really bad. It lacks focus and wears its heart on its sleeve, sentimentalism being another of Lurie’s self-confessed faults, but the story works. A lacklustre reporter stumbles across an old homeless guy who used to be a prominent boxer and writes the story, hoping to make the big time. Everything goes wrong. The acting works, too. As the reporter, Josh Hartnett’s low-key shiftiness and need to be liked works well with Samuel Jackson’s flamboyant ex-boxer. Alan Alda, Teri Hatcher and Peter Coyote all shine in supporting roles.
EXTRAS Director commentary; making-of doc; Lurie, Hartnett, Jackson, Alda, Kathryn Morris and fight coordinator interviews. Widescreen. English, French audio and subtitles.