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Before we get into my review of Champion Road, I have to deliver a few disclaimers… I am an actor. Moreover, I am an actor’s actor, meaning my primary focus when watching a film, play, or whatever is on the artists before me. I love a good story with some excellent writing but at the end of the day, despite the writing, the directing, the lighting, the sound…I believe it is up to the actor to just tell the story.
And with that said…
It has to be mentioned that the LEAD ACTOR, BRAD JAMES, of CHAMPION ROAD is FIIIIIIIIIIIINNEEEEEEE! Lololololol. I crack myself up, but it is the truth. I also feel that he was the strongest actor in the cast, as well he should be, hence calling him the lead. Besides his warm and contagious smile, what I loved most about his performance was that he made everybody else in the cast look good. When he was working in scenes with actors of less skill, he did not let it affect his performance. He was very generous with the other cast members. He gave power to those whose characters were written with power, but hadn’t earned it. He showed instead of telling. I look forward to following his body of work. Although he stands to improve, I wouldn’t be surprised if this young man turned into a performer of the caliber of Will Smith, but that’s just my opinion.
All around, the casting was great. The only performance that took me a little out of the story was that given by, Terrance Parham, who played King, the lord of the underground fighting system. He was supposed to be a tough, bossman, no-BS-taking, kill-for-fun type. But when you think about villains and intimidating figures from films like The Godfather, Friday, Dark Knight, and even The Lion King, you notice they tend to not need to be so aggressive. Their power is in their stance and most times their silence. Most of the fault is in the writing because I felt he had way too much dialogue to be intimidating, but the rest I blame on the actor. I understood that King was supposed to be feared because of how others treated him, not because he conveyed it as an actor. I do appreciate that he was wearing a suit all the time, but a man of that stature would have people working on his behalf. King shouldn’t have been making house calls.
Production wise, the film was EX.CE.LLENT. Audio and sound guys were on their jobs. The editing needed some work. The narration from Merser didn’t bother me, but the text commentary, [LATER THAT DAY], went on far too long. At some point as filmmakers, we have to give the audience credit. If the actor is wearing the same clothes, it’s probably the same day later in the afternoon.
The relationship between Merser and Robyn seemed problematic to me. If he stood up for her and went to jail for her safety, I would think they’d be a little closer. The actors’ body language and the way they spoke to each other gave it all away for me. When she visited his home, they hugged. He told her to come in and make herself at home. When siblings are as close as these too should have been, these things don’t need to be said. We hug people we haven’t seen in a long time. We tell people who don’t usually come to our home to make themselves at home. In this case, we can’t blame the writing.
I appreciate the commitment to making the fighting and martial arts look real. It looked excellent. It sounded like someone was smashing a head of lettuce every time a punch landed, but the choreography looked great.
Despite a few minor details, such as Merser seeking a black Mr. Miagi for fight training, the vagueness behind Rain’s sudden, yet immediately terminal disease, and the ridiculous “Nobody’s Home,” sign that stops Merser from looking for the kidnapped Rain, I enjoyed this film for the genuine, incessant fight this man to save to love of his life.
Although this film was an excellent effort, there is no need for a sequel. I received Champion Road for review from Maverick Entertainment.
Champion Road will be available on DVD everywhere January 19, 2010. Buy it, Rent it, or Queue it up! View the trailer here: http://www.maverickentertainment.cc/filmdetail.php?ProductID=772
Tiffany Black, Actress/Writer/Director/Blogger Extraordinaire