HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 1935 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
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: