Resurrecting the Champ


Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28

Where To Watch

Buy On

Critic Reviews

  1. 80
    It is great to see a boxing movie that portrays both boxing and Jackson in different lights.
  2. It's the complexity of Lurie's moral universe that makes it linger in the mind.
  3. About a guy who stood on the brink of greatness but, because of one flaw he could never overcome, had to settle for being pretty good before he faded away. Strange, then, that the movie works exactly the same way.
  4. 75
    Jackson disappears into his role, completely convincing, but then he usually is. What a fine actor. He avoids pitfalls like making Champ a maudlin tearjerker, looking for pity. He's realistic, even philosophical, about his life and what happened to him.
  5. Charged by a knock-out performance from Samuel L. Jackson, this compelling story of manly redemption will deliver a winning boxoffice combination of word of mouth and ultimately step outside the generic ring of sports lore.
  6. 70
    Treacle takes over in the last act, but most of this fact-based story by screenwriters Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett takes the inspirational sports drama into unexpected and morally complex territory.
  7. By skewing the film into a father-son inspirational saga, the filmmakers sell out the best possibilities in their material. Lurie clearly wants Resurrecting the Champ to be "more" than a sports movie, or a newspaper movie. Ironically, he ends up with less.
  8. It's more intelligent than most Hollywood movies you'll find in the heat of summer, and its saving grace is the quality of its acting, including Jackson's uncompromising turn as the old fighter, and delicious bits by David Paymer and Alan Alda as veteran editors.
  9. 67
    The cast is generally excellent, but Hartnett in particular comes across as convincingly complicated, alternately reprehensible and sympathetic.
  10. 67
    Jackson creates a searing study in reverse nobility as a character with a battered, street-poetic presence and subtle powers of sympathy that come into play even when he appears to be a rogue.
  11. The film is easy to take, though it must be said: It's almost 100 percent blather.
  12. Lurie's film never fully reconciles the story about newsroom ethics with the sentimental drama about bad dads and bereft sons.
  13. Struggles to get off the ropes and never quite establishes its rhythm. The film takes place in eternal moral twilight, dark enough to make faces look photogenically poignant, light enough to see the white lies.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    This picture reminded me of one of the things I like best about "All the President’s Men": It doesn’t give a good godd--- about Woodward and Bernstein’s personal lives.
  15. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Overly sentimentalized and the execution is slack. If not for Samuel L. Jackson's performance as the ravaged boxer, "Champ" would be of limited interest.
  16. For Mr. Lurie, who specializes in political subjects, Resurrecting the Champ is an encouraging return to film following the rise and fall of his television series "Commander in Chief."
  17. 60
    Delivers a heckuva story marred by some credibility problems but lands the majority of its punches via subtly powerful performances and a moving undercard of paternal connection.
  18. 50
    This isn't great raw material, though Lurie and his screenwriters try their best to portray Erik as some guilt-ridden evildoer who's perpetrated a great fraud.
  19. Stays on its feet through all the rounds, but it never “floats like a butterfly.”
  20. Hardly anything feels real, but what feels even more unreal is Hartnett with a cloying, sentimental, self-pitying performance. The liveliest thing in the film is the great Jackson, slumming again in a role miles beneath him.
  21. 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.
  22. The relationship between reporter and subject is always a tricky one, but in Resurrecting the Champ it's downright delusional.
  23. The film itself is a tedious melodrama whose sole saving grace is the performance of Samuel L. Jackson as Tommy Kincaid.
  24. 50
    Clumsiness follows clumsiness -- the acting, the staging, the details of the plot -- until you reach the point of cool indifference. There's a lot more wrong here than can be corrected in a small space in the newspaper.
  25. 50
    If most boxing movies are about redemption, Resurrecting the Champ is a boxing movie that goes to exasperating lengths to redeem its boxing writer.
  26. 50
    The thoroughly unconvincing drama Resurrecting the Champ might be based on a true story, but that doesn't mean you're going to believe a single frame of it.
  27. The gooey sanctity of the bond between fathers and sons all but nullify Jackson's zesty performance.
  28. 25
    Well, it smells, all right, but authentic isn't the word I'd use for this maudlin male weepie, a compendium of the worst clichés of sports and journalism movies.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. John
    Apr 3, 2008
    Hey Jared you ever see a movie called Pulp Fiction, because in my opinion Sammuel L. was pretty good in that. Just a thought. Oh and Hey Jared you ever see a movie called Pulp Fiction, because in my opinion Sammuel L. was pretty good in that. Just a thought. Oh and it's called a comma, try using it one day. If your going to give a movie a 3 ouf of 10 please come up with something better thatn "its not crap its just not very good" because if you give something 3 you are saying that it is crap. Full Review »
  2. JayH.
    Apr 2, 2008
    Not too bad but I did find it rather boring. The acting is good, as is the story but I just never got involved in the film, it never drew me Not too bad but I did find it rather boring. The acting is good, as is the story but I just never got involved in the film, it never drew me in. It lacks spunk. Full Review »
  3. StephenD.
    Aug 26, 2007
    Will be a classic. A film which works on many levels. Jackson should win an Oscar.