Champion
Directed by: Judd Brannon
Written by: Missy Reedy, Sarah Inabnit
Starring: Andrew Cheney, Robert Amaya, Portia Cue, Gary Graham

Review by Stephanie Cooke

“It takes guts to crawl through that window, but it takes brains to win a race!” This is one of the first lines of dialogue from someone talking to our main character Sean (played by Andrew Cheney), as race car driver who just wants to GO FAST and not listen to the people around him. Who smells the start of a character arc? *raises hand*

*whispers* Why did you do this to me, home entertainment PR people… whyyyyyyyyyy…

So, Sean is a racecar driver. I don’t know if his car is meant to look like a junker or not, but it seems like the kind of car that 90% of the time you’d be mumbling “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL” when it comes to hoping things don’t literally fall apart. Someone posted something once that stuck with me in regards to that (as a sidebar). Jesus wasn’t even born when cars were a thing. So why is “Jesus take the wheel” a thing? Jesus doesn’t know how to drive – isn’t that like asking for holy assisted suicide?

ANYWAYS…

Sean has a rivalry with a fellow racer that borders on a vendetta. That fellow racer winds up dead on the track after things get heated during a race.

The movie is an emotional journey as Sean tries to make amends as a person and as a racer. He must find his way so that he can support his young daughter and be the role model for her that she deserves.

The overall premise is clich√©, but it’s all about the execution from the director and the actors carrying out the roles in the film, right? Well, none of that comes together for me here. I honestly expected the acting to be much worse for a film like Champion, but I was surprised. I can’t say that I was pleasantly surprised but still. The worst of the performances come from the child actor playing Sean’s daughter, Gracey – but I mean, she’s a kid, and that’s understandable. She hams it up to prey on your emotions. It doesn’t quite hit home there, but her role is honestly not the dealbreaker here.

I think part of my resistance to films like this isn’t for the overall message but rather because I spent my days as a youth in Catholic School where these values were thrown at me for years. The way that they subtly through in God and Jesus and the Church just makes me think back to those days.

There’s a lot of things to cry “WHYYYYYY” into the sky to when it comes to this movie, but I think the honkytonk open source country music that’s playing as the score during the film may be one of the worst offenders. Music is such an integral part of any movie for me, and while I realize that they probably didn’t have the budget to get licensed songs, I just feel like they could’ve done so much better here. It does set the overall tone for the film though; I’ll give them that. The low budget country music vibes let you know exactly the kind of film that you’re here to see.

As a sidebar, this movie was written by two women, which completely surprised me. I wish I didn’t dislike watching this movie so much and that I could appreciate this surprise move, but ladies – you make what you want and don’t listen to one reviewer who’s dead inside. MAKE FILMS!!!!!!

Champion DVD Special Features:

  • Outtakes
  • The Heart of Champion
  • Action at the Dirt Track
  • Music Videos
  • Theatrical Trailer

Verdict:
Pass
– this is not a race car pun. Unless you’re into Christian racing movies, this will probably not be for you.

Stephanie Cooke
scooke@hotmail.ca
Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more. Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her <a href="http://www.stephaniecooke.ca">personal web site</a>.

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