Any screenwriter who has researched the sport of boxing could instantly tell moviegoers their favorite fight flick, be it Raging Bull, Requiem for a Heavyweight, or Million Dollar Baby. Explaining the ?why,? however, would prove a less quick-footed answer?-due in part to the argument that said movies are not fight flicks but, rather, a bio-pic/character study/morality play. The same could be said of valiant effort Resurrecting the Champ, which is more an essay on journalistic integrity than boxing. Though not a good fight flick (or good flick period, for that matter), this fumble-footed ?true story? fights hard to win. Rounded out with too many questionable choices (direction, editing, casting), however, the movie ends up on the ropes.
In the PG-13-rated Resurrecting the Champ, a struggling sports writer (Hartnett) believes that a homeless man (Jackson) could be a once-great boxing champion.
From the outset, Hartnett?s sports writer is accused of having no actual substance or style behind his words, which, ironically, also defines the underlying problem with Resurrecting the Champ. Though based on an actual experience, nothing smacks of authenticity. Supporting players Alan Alda and David Paymer act rings around Hartnett, Jackson?s forced nasally delivery astounds more than endears, the script gives children the voice of a young adult, and - worse yet - the movie doesn't know when to end. Director Rod Lurie even includes an entire scene starring Teri Hatcher as a TV exec who outright states the plainly obvious moral dilemma facing the writer?-a scene that clearly could have been excised.
Bottom line: Fair to middleweight.