Resurrecting the Champ


Resurrecting the Champ

Critics Consensus

While sluggish in spots, Resurrecting the Champ is a sports/newsroom drama elevated by high-caliber performances by Samuel Jackson, Josh Hartnet, and Alan Alda.



Total Count: 119


Audience Score

User Ratings: 29,902
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Movie Info

Director and co-screenwriter (along with Chris Gerolmo, Allison Burnett, and Michael Bortman) Rod Lurie tells the uplifting tale of a sports writer who almost lost it all before stumbling into the story of a lifetime in this uplifting sports-themed drama starring Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson. Erik (Hartnett) is a Denver-based sports writer whose prose is dull and whose marriage is failing. Not only is Erik having a difficult time dealing with his stubborn editor Metz (Alan Alda) - who refuses to take the suffering scribe off of the boxing beat - but the pain of being separated from his young son has weighed heavier on Erik's conscience than he could have ever imagined. When Erik sees a local homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) being violently assaulted by a gang of sadistic street toughs, he instinctively comes to the suffering man's rescue. As fate would have, Erik discovers that the nondescript homeless man is actually the former boxing champion Battling Bob Satterfield, whom many sports fans had assumed dead. Now driven to tell the story that may establish him as a successful sports writer, Erik gradually begins to make the transformation from ordinary man to extraordinary champion - largely by turning inward and by reexamining his relationship with his own son. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Resurrecting the Champ

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (48)

  • Resurrecting the Champ is authentic in its newsroom scenes, and appropriately concerned at how entertainment value trumps diligent reporting.

    Aug 28, 2007 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity
    Top Critic
  • Despite one great performance and an intriguing setup, the work is crippled by another performance that's nowhere near great, and a storyline that makes it impossible to root for the leading man.

    Aug 27, 2007
  • Champ is a solid effort with a lot going for it, but it suggests that Lurie still isn't willing to relax and let viewers interpret his films.

    Aug 25, 2007 | Rating: B-

    Tasha Robinson

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • The movie itself -- which deals (not very interestingly) with the issue of journalistic integrity and (very predictably) with father-son relationships -- doesn't pack much of a wallop.

    Aug 24, 2007 | Full Review…
  • While Resurrecting the Champ seems to be just what you expect, it's only when you've let your guard slip that you realize it's hiding something altogether more forceful in its glove.

    Aug 24, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • There's no rule that says a movie must have a likable character at its center, but it helps if a nonlikable central character is at least interesting.

    Aug 24, 2007 | Rating: 1.5/4

Audience Reviews for Resurrecting the Champ

  • Aug 12, 2010
    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.
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2009
    The movie started off kinda slow but then picked up when the twist happened
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2009
    This film took me to unexpected places. I figured I was in for another formula fight film, but, in spite of an awesome performance from Jackson, the film isn't really about the ex boxer at all. The meat of the film is the resurrecion of the reporter, who is trying to live with the ghost of his famous father, as he deals with not only that, but professional ethics. The film is just a bit ambiguous about how much due dillegence he put in (or should have), but when all signs were leading to gold, I can see where you wouldn't want to stop the speeding train to question certain aspects and coincidences a bit deeper. This story kept me in my seat and watching Jackson as the punch drunk "champ" was a wondrous view into method acting - all the little mannerisms and especially the somehow energetic shuffle that achingly told of a body that is simply unable to do and go where the brain tells it to.
    paul s Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2008
    The film is a little predictable, but the performances of Sam Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Kathryn Morris, and Alan Alda make this film worth seeing. Even though, The Soloist hasn't come out yet, this film sort of reminds me of what that film might be like. I am hoping that will be a better film than this one.
    Sol C Super Reviewer

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