Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The Express

 

Review by Mark Lengieza

Hello out there to all of my fans!  After my long and unfortunate hiatus I am back to The Latest Movie Reviews.  Sadly, being back at school has really hampered my ability to actually get out to the movies, what with classes and homework and all.  So very sorry to all of those who missed me.

My first review back comes with a preface: I love uplifting true story sports movies.  I’m a complete sucker for them.  I just think you should keep that in mind when you read what I have to say about the latest one to hit theaters, the incredible story of Ernie Davis, The Express.   I went to see the film during one of its sneak peak shows and I was not disappointed at all.  In fact, it was exactly what I had expected.  It is your pretty standard uplifting sports movie.  The story, however, does happen to be quite remarkable.

For those of you who don’t know, Ernie Davis was the first African-American player to win the Heisman Trophy.  (If you don’t know what the Heisman Trophy is, stop reading this review and skip on to Beverly Hills Chihuahua).  Shortly after winning the Heisman, Davis was drafted into the NFL but unfortunately was never able to play a single down, as he was stricken with leukemia shortly after graduating from Syracuse University.

All of the clichés you would expect to see are present: the racist culture of the time, the coach (played by Dennis Quaid) who grows as much as the players he’s coaching, the racist refs that try and take games away from the team that is “challenging the social norms,” the triumphant victory over the most racist team in the country (sorry if that’s a spoiler, but come on people, you know what you are getting into here), and the sad and heartbreaking end that make the story just that much more special. 

It is a typical sports movie.  There is not much to distinguish it from other films of this type other than the simple fact that Ernie Davis’ story is just so remarkable.  Many say that he could have been better than Jim Brown (also featured in the movie, as the player Davis is responsible for replacing) who is considered by several sports experts as the greatest running back in NFL history. 

The movie definitely tugged on my heartstrings, to say the least.  Like I said, I am a total sucker for these films.  I liked the use of Rob Brown, a generally unknown actor in the role of Davis.  The film does a great job of showcasing itself as the Ernie Davis story, rather than a film to be judged on its technical merits.  If you are a sports movie fan, or even just a sports fan in general, I would definitely suggest checking this out.  It may not break any new ground, but it was definitely enjoyable and may even bring a tear the eye of the toughest football fan around.  If you’re not into sports, you may still want to check it out, but I definitely think my love for sports is what made this movie so good for me.

4 / 5 stars

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