HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Great White Hype, The Think Outside The Box
Year: 1996
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, Peter Berg, Corbin Bernsen, Jon Lovitz, Cheech Marin, John Rhys-Davies, Salli Richardson, Jamie Foxx, Rocky Carroll, Albert Hall, Susan Gibney, Michael Jace, Duane Davis, Lamont Johnson, Sam Whipple
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: James "The Grim Reaper" Roper (Damon Wayans) is the heavyweight champion of the world, and more or less feels invincible as he puts paid to another challenger in front of the Las Vegas crowd and the television cameras. He is managed by The Reverend Fred Sultan (Samuel L. Jackson), one of the richest men in boxing thanks to his savvy with raising huge amounts of money for the fights he arranges and ensuring the publicity machine goes into overdrive to drum up that income, but oh dear, once he and his entourage are back in their hotel suite there's some bad news. Word is that the revenue was down fifty percent from their last match, which is not so good when they're so used to dealing with such huge sums normally, so what can be done to arrest that decline?

Aside from Quentin Tarantino's frequent flying of the flag for addressing racial issues in his successful movies, Americans dealing with the problem of inequality between the races were not really to be welcomed, never mind seen at the cinema. There were occasional entries in the nineteen-nineties where the subject was upfront, quite often in works by African American directors, most prominently Spike Lee, but there was an uneasy reluctance to tackle them in anything very much aside from social commentary pictures which didn't really generate the major profits. Take The Great White Hype, a comedy that was well up for presenting some ugly truths about how racism can manipulate the population, but did next to nothing when it was released.

Was it because audiences wanted the comedy and didn't want the commentary, which made them uncomfortable? Certainly Ron Shelton, who penned the original script, was unhappy with the results, though that was largely because Spinal Tap alumnus Tony Hendra was brought in to rewrite it, and Shelton was dissatisfied with what was done to his screenplay, and perhaps it was significant they were both white Americans in the first place. Or maybe not: director Reginald Hudlin was black, and he appeared to have an ear for the dialogue as delivered by a cast of whom over half were black as well, leaving a project that had a few more laughs than might be expected from what its poor reputation would indicate.

The racial aspect was not merely down to the cast and director, it was down to the plot as well. The Don King-esque Sultan decides that the takings are reduced not because the fight was boring, it went a few rounds before the knockout and featured a popular champion, but because of the colour of the participants. What America really needed, he tells his underlings, is a white challenger to the black supremacy in the ring, admit the racism inherent in the sport's dwindling popularity and embrace it as a profit-maker. His solution? Find the only man to have decked Roper, albeit at an amateur level, and train him up to do it again: Terry Conklin (Peter Berg), now a heavy metal singer who has an altruistic streak that leads him to agree, but only if he can donate his ten million dollar fee to the homeless of America.

The methods Sultan builds this up as a significant event were testament to the usefulness of cynicism in boxing movies, encouraging Roper not to take the upcoming bout seriously so he will be out of shape by the time it arrives (though Wayans' fake plastic belly could have been more convincing), and trumpeting Conklin as the next great Irish American brawler, even though he's not actually Irish American, it's just what white America wants to hear. So far, so provocative, and with an excellent cast this had the makings of something truly pointed, so why was it once it was over were you left with the impression they had their target on the ropes a few times, yet never quite had it dropping to the canvas in a complete daze? They didn't quite throw in the towel, but with all this set-up you wanted to see a sledgehammer blow to finish it off, and oddly it stepped back, leaving some fine performances (Jackson in his element as the smartest loudmouth in the room, for example), some funny lines, an impression of the tensions in its home nation, but a lingering sense of a missed opportunity. Not bad, nevertheless. Music by Marcus Miller.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2662 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: