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Sportswriter Erik Kernan (Hartnett) wants nothing more than to discover a story great enough to make headlines. So when he meets Champ (Jackson), a former boxing champion living on the streets, he knows he has a shot to save them both. Recording his newfound friend's unbelievable tale of triumph and defeat, Kernan gets his story and his fame. But as Champ's tale falls under more scrutinizing eyes, Kernan will have to learn that what truly makes a story great is the quality of the man behind it.
Loosely based on a Los Angeles Times Magazine story by J.R. Moehringer, Resurrecting the Champ is a heartfelt, thematically ambitious drama that attempts to work on several levels, and mostly pulls it off. On one level it's the story of a sloppy journalist named Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett) who learns a painful lesson in humility when he's forced to confront his own shortcomings as a father and a sportswriter. On another level it's a richly human tale of redemption between the flawed reporter who's desperate to match his late father's professional reputation, and a former boxing champion (Samuel L. Jackson) who's now a homeless drifter on the streets of Denver, Colorado. When Kernan seizes on "The Champ" as the kind of personal, humanitarian story that could give him a much-needed career boost, he falls into the trap of his own ambition, making a professional mistake that threatens to ruin his career forever. While attempting to impress his 6-year-old son (Dakota Goyo) and win back the respect of his estranged wife (Kathryn Morris, from TV's Cold Case), Kernan is groomed for celebrity by a sexy Showtime executive (Teri Hatcher), but must ultimately get his values and priorities in order. Resurrecting the Champ emerges as a surprisingly thought-provoking study of professional and personal ethics, with some equally compelling observations about the modern state of journalism-as-show-business. Directed with a delicately sentimental touch by former film critic Rod Lurie (The Contender, The Last Castle), Resurrecting the Champ lacks the sharp focus that could've made it a modest classic, but it's a welcome relief from the mindless mayhem of big-studio blockbusters. Lurie's careful handling of the material is blessed by excellent performances by Hartnett and Jackson, with stellar support from Morris, Alan Alda, David Paymer, and especially Peter Coyote, almost unrecognizable under old-age makeup as a veteran boxing reporter who sets Hartnett's character on the road to redemption. --Jeff Shannon
I felt this movie deserved at least 3 stars - the acting was good
but this movie will never become a classic!!
I enjoyed this movie that dealt with some difficult journalistic issues and handled them deftly. I always enjoy Alan Alda in any role as well!Published on October 25, 2012 by Amazon Customer
"Resurrecting the Champ" is a drama film that is based on true events but there are some alterations to facts from the real story. Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by Nicholas R.W. Henning
I've seen many complaints from reviewers that Resurrecting the Champ is just a flat out boring film. I can see why so many people are coming to that conclusion. Read morePublished on November 18, 2009 by Bryan
I am very open minded and like almost every type of movie. My favorite genre is sports inspirational and/or true stories so I'm typically biased to like this style of movie even... Read morePublished on November 14, 2009 by Researcher
Jackson's performance in this film was top notch, though the rest of it left something to be desired. Read morePublished on May 1, 2009 by S. K. Harrell
Couldn't get into the movie at all. I wish I would have saved my moneyPublished on November 18, 2008 by Cullen C. Scott
Mediocre journalist, Erik Kernan Jr. (played by Josh Hartnett), continually lives in the shadow of his famous journalist father and strives to become a great writer in his own... Read morePublished on November 18, 2008 by L. A. Vitale