New York Times - 08/24/2007
"RESURRECTING THE CHAMP is a cautionary fable....Mr. Jackson's champ is entirely convincing and frequently incandescent."
In RESURRECTING THE CHAMP, Samuel L. Jackson sheds the cooler-than-thou persona he's perfected in films such as PULP FICTION. But even previous turns as the downtrodden characters in CHANGING LANES and BLACK SNAKE MOAN are nothing compared to the role of Champ in this film from director Rod Lurie (THE LAST CASTLE). Jackson transforms into a homeless man, completely changing his voice and carriage to reflect someone who has lived on the street for years. When the audience first meets Champ, he is being attacked by a group of 20-something men. A sports journalist named Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett, THE BLACK DAHLIA) happens upon the scene and rescues Champ from a brutal beating. But it's Erik who needs rescuing as well: his job at the Denver Times is in jeopardy as a result of his pedestrian prose, and his marriage to a fellow journalist (Kathryn Morris, COLD CASE) is on equally shaky ground. In finding Champ, he's found his story. Champ isn't an average man living on the street. Instead, he boasts of being famed boxer Battling Bob Satterfield, and he hands Erik a Pulitzer-worthy story of a life gone wrong.
Based on a true story, RESURRECTING THE CHAMP is less a typical sports movie than it is an engaging drama. There's enough boxing history and action to satisfy sports fans: Satterfield is said to have battled big names such as Jake La Motta of RAGING BULL fame, and bouts are fought and won throughout the film. But it's Erik's internal conflict that makes this an interesting film. He is a man forever caught in the shadow of his father, a famed sports broadcaster he never really knew, as he tries to raise his own son.
Description by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment:
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.