Triumph (2021) Movie Review

Director: Brett Leonard

Writer: Michael D Coffey (Screenplay)

Starring: RJ Mitte, Terrence Howard, Colton Haynes, Johnathon Schaech, Grace Victoria Cox, Michael D Coffey

Plot: Inspired by a real story, a determined high school senior strives to be a wrestler one last time despite having cerebral palsy and goes to extreme lengths, crushing obstacles and inspiring others along his journey to prove his abilities.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Triumph starts when Mike (Mitte) a high school student with cerebral palsy looks to continue his dreams of becoming a wrestler, trying out for the team under Coach Cutting (Howard), Jeff (Haynes) sees the determination he is showing, offering him friendship, while others look down on him, including his father Doug (Schaech).

Once Mike makes the wrestling team, his father starts supporting him, after seeing just how much this means to him, as he looks to fight against the odds.

Thoughts on Triumph

Characters & Performances – Mike is a high school student that has cerebral palsy, when he was younger, he tried wrestling, only to get injured, but in a new school, he looks to try once more, where he will show more determination than most of the team. He will look to define all the odds to make sure he doesn’t get left behind, never letting his disability get in his way. RJ Mitte does a solid job in the leading role, even if it will spark a debate about these roles going to disabled actors or not. Coach Cutting is the man that will give Mike the chance, having moments of inspiration to the young man. Terrence Howard might well be the biggest name in the film, but he doesn’t seem to be an inspirational as he truly should be. The rest of the characters we meet are the people that will look to overcome their feelings to show Mike what he needs in life, support.

StoryThe story here follows a high school student with cerebral palsy who wants to try out for the wrestling team, where he will need to overcome the odds to make the team and prove everyone wrong, based on the real story of the athlete. This is a story that is looking at how difficult the life would have been for Mike, the inspiration of never giving up and being given chances for hard work is important, because sports isn’t always about ability and can be about heart. When we look to dive into the heart and soul moments, we do see certain parts feel like they might fall shorter than they should, which is disappointing, making everything feel like a standard made for TV movie.

ThemesTriumph is a sports drama focusing on amateur level wrestling, it will show that no matter what disabilities you might have, understand the fundamentals will give you a chance to compete in the sport.

Signature Entertainment presents Triumph on Digital Platforms from 28th June

Final Thoughts Triumph is a by the book inspirational sports drama.

Strider (2020) Movie Review

Director: Mark Lewis

Writer: Mark Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Yelena Friedman, Maggie Alexander, Scott Lewis, Amanda Kristin Nichols, Josiah Schneider

Plot: Jody, a lonely teenage girl, joins forces with Hannah, a disgraced track coach. Together, they spend a summer training for The Pinnacle Games, the biggest track and field competition on the East Coast.

Tagline – Two Women. One Competition. One Summer to make it all happen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Strider starts by following isolated teenager Jody (Friedman) who is living with her father Bill (Lewis) and twin nightmare little brothers Donny and Davey. Jody uses running as an escape from her life, clearing her head. On her latest run, track coach Hannah Dalton (Alexander) sees stamina, offering to teach Jody to improve.

Hannah believes she can get Jody ready to enter The Pinnacle Games the biggest track and field competition on the East Coast. Teaching her discipline and focus on something for the first time in a long time for Jody, leaving us to see if she can follow through with this training.

Thoughts on Strider

Characters & Performances – Jody is a lonely teenager, she keeps to herself in high school and facing an unsure future, not knowing what she wants from her life. She struggles to fit in at home with her father and two younger brothers, finding her only happy place in running. Jody has never had anyone believe in her before, until Hannah sees a future for her in running, giving Jody a focus, she hasn’t had in years, a potential escape from the world she feels is consuming her. Yelena Friedman must give us two types of performances here, first is the character who is feeling hopeless, with the second being the physical one, performing the constant amount of running. She delivers on both of them, bringing us a character whose decisions will make us understand her struggles. Hannah Dalton is a former track coach that is struggling for money or finding herself a new job. She notices Jody running, seeing it as a chance to get her reputation back, taking Jody under her wing. She is strict with what she expects from Jody, promising to teach her to become her best. Maggie Alexander is great in her role, being us a character that is showing the determination and desperation to achieve again. Bill is the father of Jody who is trying to encourage her to find a passion, but he is prepared for her to give up on her ideas. Tim is the new boyfriend for Jody, somebody that will make her feel happy outside of the world she finds herself in. these two are mostly supporting characters who are meant to for support for Jody.

StoryThe story here follows a lonely teenager that finds herself being trained by a fallen track coach giving her a new lease and target in her young life. This is a story that is about a young person getting the guidance they need in life, showing them that somebody is willing to help them, guide them and showing them more in life. We do get to keep the story side simple enough by showing the training montages, showing struggles at home Jody has. We could see the inspiration in finding the new direction in life, for both Jody and Hannah.

ThemesStrider is a sports drama that will show us commitment needed for Jody to make it, we get plenty of different running environments, which will offer from different types of training to help her find the skills she needs to achieve something she never imagined. 

Final Thoughts Strider is an inspiration sports drama, proving anyone that could find a goal in life.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – V – Escape to Victory (1981) Movie Review

Director: John Huston

Writer: Evan Jones, Yabo Yablonsky (Screenplay) Yabo Yablonsky, Djordje Milicevic, Jeff Maguire (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Pele, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, Paul Van Himst

Plot: As allied P.O.W.s prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team’s escape.

Tagline – Now is the time for heroes

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Sports War Film

Story: Escape to Victory starts as German Prisoner of War Captain John Colby (Caine) is asked by a German Major Karl Von Steiner (Von Sydow) if he would like to have a football match, Colby accepts, with him putting together a team of elite players from different prisoners of war, with America Captain Robert Hatch (Stallone) talking his way onto the team to help his escape attempt.

As the team prepares for the game, Hatch is instructed to make a plan for the whole team to escape, with Colby needing to keep face with the German officers before the big game.

Thoughts on Escape to Victory

Characters – Captain Robert Hatch is the American in the prisoner of war camp, he is always planning an escape, but his latest plan is ruined by the upcoming football match, he pushes his way into the squad as the coach and then goalkeeper, as he uses his connections to create the latest plan of escape. Captain John Colby is one of the many former great footballers in the prisoner of war camp, he wants to prove himself on the pitch against one of the majors in the German side, once a great rival on the pitch, he arranges to put together his own team of players from around the world that are in camps to challenges the Germans to a match. Major Karl Von Steiner is the former professional footballer that wants to offer Colby a match, his sportsmanship side shines through, as he gives Colby what he wants, even if the rest of his military is against his idea, he just wants an honest match between men, not guards and prisoners.

PerformancesWe have three main stars of this film with Sylvester Stallone as the brash American working well through the film, Michael Caine as the calm collected English man is the highlight, with Max Von Sydow bringing to life an honest officer, proving not all Germans were bad.

StoryThe story here follows a group of prisoners of war offered a game of football by a German officer, looking for an honest game, only for it provide a plan to escape the prison. We have seen the escape from prison films before in film, with this being no different, with how the plan is put together, the only change comes in seeing how the honour of competing at sport will make difference. The story is keen to highlight that not all Germans were bad during the war, just like most people, they were left with no choice and tried to make the best of the situation.

Sport/WarThe football in the film is edited for the glory moments, with the former international stars, which do give those moments extra realism. The war backdrop shows us how operations would be put in place for an escape, while not showing any of the horrors of the situation.

SettingsThe film uses the prison camp for the most part, which will highlight the closed-up environment for the practise, while the escape plan is put in place.

Scene of the Movie – The match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Hatch’s improvement is way to unbelievable.

Final Thoughts This is a fun sports movie that shows the spirit of the game will always come through, with appearances from some of the biggest names in the game.

Overall: Enjoyable.

Le Mans ’66 (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Mangold

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, JJ Field, Ray McKinnon, Noah Jupe

Plot: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

Tagline – They took the american dream for a ride

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sporting Classic

Story: Le Mans 66 starts as we see how Carroll Shelby (Damon) made history by winning the Le Mans 24 Hour race only to be forced into retirement because of medical problems, not wanting to walk away from the sport, he starts designing cars and turns to his friend a racer Ken Miles (Bale) to help race the cars.

When Henry Ford II (Letts) sees the sells in his car going down he turns to his team to think of ideas, Lee Iacocca (Bernthal) suggests challenging Ferrari in Le Mans, which sees Carroll hired to build a car capable of defeating them and he only wants Ken to drive for him, can they make history?

Thoughts on Le Mans 66

Characters – Ken Miles was the greatest racer of the era, the problem with him was always his attitude, never wanting to follow rules almost blacklisting him from most teams around the world, his wife wants him to race, his son looks up to him and Carroll knows he is the best man for the job, he help design the car with Carroll and his team and must prove himself on the track to get the drive at Le Mans. Carroll Shelby won Le Mans, retired from the racing side of the sport to start designing the cars, he is considered the best in America and is pick by Ford to design their race car, he will challenge the order of things because he knows he can achieve this, if he is given the chance to select who he wants in the car. Mollie is the ever-supportive wife of Ken, she wants him to drive knowing he will get bored if he doesn’t, she only asks that he is honest with her, she odes also get a great driving scene. we do get to meet plenty of executives from Ford, who each have their own agenda with Leo Beebe being made out to be the villain of the team, while Henry Ford II is made out to be strict, but will accept honesty.

PerformancesChristian Bale and Matt Damon are both fantastic proving to everyone why they are considered two of the best in the business today, they have great individual moments as well as banter between them. Outside of the two big names, nobody does get to reach their level and everybody is a joy to watch in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows Henry Ford II desire to beat Enzo Ferrari in the Le Mans 24-hour race, we see him hire a former winner turned designer to build his car, as the two sides do battle to get Ken Miles behind the wheel, in an attempt to make history. This does show how an American decided he would rather push the limits of his bank than improve the product he was making as we see how Ford changed the racing world that Ferrari had been dominating for decades and how faith in a driver is often more important that having the fastest car. The story is told over a couple of years, we get to see the important turns in the battle between Carroll and Ford’s executives to get the best driver behind the wheel, before letting us just sit back and enjoy the races. It could have had a little bit of the story chopped down to save some time though.

Action/Biopic/SportThe action mixes with the sport wonderfully to give us edge of the seat race moments that will be the highlight of the film, while the biopic side of the film seems to focus more on the car side of things only, while Ken does have a family, we really don’t learn anything else about Carroll outside of his work.

SettingsThe film recreates the iconic race track perfectly and shows us how the time relevant cars were used in nearly every scene of the film, on and off the track.

Scene of the Movie – Le Mans Race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Give us subtitles for the Ferrari scenes.

Final Thoughts This is a high speed biopic that doesn’t let you breath through most of the action involved, it has brilliant performances from the whole cast and is a must watch for any motor sports fans.

Overall: Motor Sports Fans Must Watch.