Monday, May 15, 2017

"Champion" Movie Review

I recently had the opportunity to preview Champion, which arrives in theaters this weekend. It's definitely worth watching!

Racecar driver Sean Weathers was at the top of his game…beautiful daughter, top sponsors, the best crew money could buy and an ego that trumped them all. Just weeks before ending the best season of his life, he was in control—or so he thought. When a grudge series with another racer turns personal, the ego and arrogance that propelled him to the top causes a tragedy that sends his life spinning.

Jack Reed was successful as a businessman, but he struggled as a father. Just when they were reconnecting, he got the news his only son Ray was dead. Through his grief Jack discovers the truth that Ray had wanted to share with him, that the road to understanding and peace would have to begin with forgiveness.

Andrew Cheney (BEYOND THE MASK) stars with Gary Graham (Star Trek “Renegades”, ALL THE RIGHT MOVES) and Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS, MOM’S NIGHT OUT). Directed by Judd Brannon (WAR ROOM), the film is produced by Brannon Pictures.

You never know what you're going to get with a faith-based movie. I guess that's true of any independent film, really—the film might be phenomenal, it might be terrible, or (most likely) it might fall somewhere in between. Champion falls in the in between, though it's definitely closer to "phenomenal" than "terrible"!

I loved the theme at the heart of Champion—learning how to forgive. The story revolves around two men—arrogant racecar driver Sean, whose world falls apart in a split second, and grieving father Jack, who loses his son just as they were reconnecting after a long estrangement. The two bond over their shared misery (and both do their share of wallowing in self-pity and anger, to be sure), and they slowly learn what it means to forgive others and themselves.

The plot line was engaging, if a bit slow in parts, and the acting was good overall. I was especially impressed by Gary Graham as Jack (he's one of those guys you know you've seen somewhere but can't quite place) and Faith Renee Kennedy as Sean's daughter Gracie. A few of the other actors were ... not quite so realistic in their parts.

I watched this film with my mom, and she was moved to tears at a certain point—always a good sign! She did, however, point out that the movie should have ended differently. I won't spoil anything, but the very last scene was perhaps a tad too much. You'll see if you watch it!

Overall, I really enjoyed Champion. It's one of those rare movies that is safe for the whole family (though young children would probably be bored), and it features a strong gospel message without feeling "preachy." If it comes to a theater in your area (you can find out by going to the website), I'd encourage you to go. And if it doesn't, keep an eye out for when it comes to DVD/streaming. 4 stars.

View the movie trailer. 
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About Brannon Films

With a heart for bringing stories to life, Judd Brannon has had the opportunity to direct and produce multiple video projects. His music video "For Freedom," featuring the music of Avalon, and was selected to be a part of Sean Hannity's "Freedom Tour." His recent projects include working on the Kendrick's feature film "War Room." Currently, Judd serves the people of First Woodstock in Atlanta, GA where he is the staff video producer. Judd is thankful for the support of his wife and two boys.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a screener of this movie for review through Icon Media Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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