The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (19)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (10)
| Rotten (9)
It's like a thesis whose next draft would be destined for greatness.
[A] clearly sincere but achingly cliched look at what's good and bad about the sport and the society that sanctions it.
No one documentary could ever really encompass all that's fascinating and distressing about boxing as a kingmaking sport, a violent cultural phenomenal and a shady business. The slickly made "Champs" certainly tries, with varied success.
The historic, socioeconomic, racial and even poetic roots of pugilism are addressed, and celebs and sportwriters weigh in, but often it's the fighters themselves who best sum up the appeal of "the sweet science."
Now and then this documentary by Bert Marcus rises above mere promotion, leaving you wishing it had tackled the sport's difficult questions in more depth.
Each fighter gets time to tell his story, and each is candid and thoughtful (and in some moments regretful) about their histories.
Like a young kid channeling all of the rage that comes from growing up in poverty without a mentor, Champs suffers from throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall.
It's just hard not to imagine that it might been better as a shorter 30 For 30 episode focusing on one of the three boxers.
Uneven and too brief for its brawny subject, Champs fails to be an affecting underdog story or an in-depth look at boxing's many problems.
Interesting, accessible documentary about the boxing world is revealing but stymied by its own slickness.
What really differentiates this documentary from others is that it doesn't just stick to the cliche boundaries of the backstories of the boxers, it goes into the sociological and cultural factors of boxing.
Directing a critical eye at the sociology and predatory business of boxing, the doc is periodically interesting but also unconvincingly broad.
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