Samuel L. Jackson is by far one of the greatest working actors alive today. No matter what movie he's in, you know that you are going to get a great character and tremendous acting. And in his new film, Samuel L. Jackson gives another interesting and unique performance.
Here, Jackson is affecting as an old, stinking, yet jovial, homeless, drunk that turns out to be a former boxing middleweight champion. From the weezy voice to every indentation on his face to every single stumble, Jackson creates a person that is off putting yet inviting, one who you would like to know more about. The film doesn't give you too much because Jackson's character isn't the real focus, and for me that's OK.
This movie really is about fathers and sons as well as honesty and integrity. The film is not about a great man whose Jackson's character would seem to suggest. No, the film is about a man who would use a great man to become one himself in another's eyes.
Josh Hartnett stars as Erik Kernan, the son of a famous sports radio announcer, who works as a sports writer for a major daily newspaper in Denver. Kernan covers sporting events of all type, but after a boxing match one night, he discovers a homeless man in the alley being attacked by rowdy teenage kids. Kernan saves the homeless man only to have the homeless man tell him that his name is Bob Satterfield, a world famous boxing champ who most people thought was dead.
After being told by his editor that his writing isn't all that great, Kernan decides to pitch a story to his newspaper's magazine about Bob Satterfield. The story focuses on how many people who thought he was dead were wrong and how Satterfield is really alive but how the glory is gone for this man who now lives on the streets.
The real-life Jake LaMotta, who was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese's film Raging Bull makes a cameo in the film as himself. The article is a success and it launches Kernan into the stratosphere. He's looked at as a writing champion and offered a high profile job on TV and tons of money and prestige, but it turns out to be all because of a lie.
Hartnett does a fair job of conveying the struggle that one man might face, if faced with the choice of continuing the lie and maintaining that prestige, or doing the right thing, if only to make it up and set a good example for your child. It's an interesting choice to see made.
Four Stars out of Five
Rated PG-13 for some violence and language
Running Time: 1 hr. and 52 mins.