The Great White Hype

on May 03, 1996 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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   Boxing promoter Rev. Fred Sultan (Samuel L. Jackson) is burdened by waning boxoffice and poor pay-per-view grosses. He decides to hype an ultimate title match, hoping for a payoff larger than the take from Holmes-Cooney.
   But the biggest hype is the campaign to make this a "must see" film. Previous fight films (e.g., "Rocky") have conditioned audiences to expect two big fisticuff set-pieces. The first bout involves one fighter underestimating the opposition; then comes the rematch. Here, the heavyweight champ ("Celtic Pride's" Damon Wayans) and an undefeated amateur ("The Last Seduction's" Peter Berg) duke it out but once, leaving the rest of the film to be one long setup, with other subplots underexamined. The cast, despite their different acting styles, work well together, but their efforts are essentially wasted. Director Reginald Hudlin ("House Party") generates some excitement and laughs, but he fails to mix fiction with reality. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Damon Wayans, Peter Berg and Jeff Goldblum. Directed by Reginald Hudlin. Written by Ron Shelton and Tony Hendra. Produced by Joshua Donen and Fred Berner. A Fox release. Comedy. Rated R for language and brief sexuality. Running time: 85 min
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