'Resurrecting the Champ: Special Edition' [BR]
(Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Alan Alda, Kathryn Morris, Teri Hatcher, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2007) 2019 / MVD Marquee Collection)
Overview: Up-and-coming sports reporter rescues a homeless man ("Champ") only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away.
What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ's story and escape the shadow of his father's success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, 'Resurrecting The Champ' is a solid movie that - if I might use a boxing metaphor - may not pack a punch, but nevertheless has an impact on those who view it.
It has surprises packed within it - it's not exactly what you expect it to be and it turns out to go in a direction that you weren't expecting because it seemed to be heading in completely different directions.
And in the end it turns out to be a pretty moving and powerful statement about the importance of honesty in life and how we all need to live (and die) with integrity, honest about ourselves and able to be proud of ourselves.
You get the impression (from the title and from the early direction of the movie) that this is going to be a story about a down on his luck ex- boxer and how he got there.
As the homeless ex-boxer, Samuel L. Jackson was good. He's "discovered" one night by Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett) - a reporter covering the local boxing beat for the Denver Times who dreams of bigger things and is frustrated both by his limited role with the paper and by having to live up to the reputation of his late father - a famous sportscaster.
Kernan stumbles upon the homeless man after covering a fight, discovers that he's a former contender named Bob Summerfield (but who goes by the name of Champ) and decides that this is his path to greater things - he'll write a human interest story about this guy that will get him national attention.
You anticipate that this is going to become the story of Champ, an anticipation that seems to come true when we start to be introduced to some flashback scenes of Champ's career, but the movie finally takes a completely unanticipated twist.
After publishing the story and getting lots of attention and job offers, it's discovered that Champ isn't who he's been claiming to be. He's a fraud, and Kernan didn't investigate enough about his background, which leads to all sorts of trouble for both he and his paper.
Here's the key to the movie - it's not a boxing story and not a flashback to Champ's career and not the story of Kernan's rise to fame. It's a moral lesson about honesty.
Kernan's been lying to his 6 year old son for years about the celebrities he claims to know (John Elway, for example, who Kernan tells his son he's best friends with but doesn't really know, and who makes a cameo in the movie in a very awkward scene for Kernan and his son).
He's living a fantasy, and then gets taken in by somebody else whose whole life is a fantasy (Champ has been impersonating Summerfield for years.) Everything comes crashing down for Kernan, because everything in his life has been a lie.
The end of the movie becomes an ode to honesty. After being outed for his fraudulent story, Kernan still has to suck it up and attend career day at his son's school with all the kids knowing that his big story was a lie; he has to face the real Summerfield's son; he has to try to rebuild his relationship with his son.
Meanwhile, Champ faces a confrontation of his own near the end of the movie with a local tough guy who's taken pleasure over the years in beating him up - finally telling the guy who he really is, decking his tormentor and declaring himself (as I presume he was) the "golden gloves champ of California.)
Sadly, Champ then dies, apparently having come to peace with himself and his life and having rediscovered his own pride in the things he had accomplished.
Now released as a sparkling new Blu-ray via MVD Marquee Collection, this is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature (Blu-ray only)
Feature Audio Commentary from Director Rod Lurie
Resurrecting the Champ Behind the Scenes Featurette (SD, 4:24)
Interviews with the Cast and Crew of Resurrecting the Champ (SD, 6:26)
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:26)
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, French 5.1 Dolby Surround
English, Spanish and French Subtitles
Amazon Blu-ray Purchase Link