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2004 | 2001

1 item from 2004

Carman: The Champion

8 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

For the follow-up to its mighty 1999 indie hit "The Omega Code", Matthew Crouch's 8X Entertainment weighs in with "Carman: The Champion", a redemptive "Rocky" starring and co-written by the single-named Christian music superstar who occupies the title.

Corny as, uh, heck, with no shortage of weak performances and some glaring technical glitches, the inspirational picture is admittedly less preachy than your average Sunday sermon.

Given the extensive outreach capabilities at the disposal of presenter TBN Films (a division of Trinity Broadcast Network), the film should be able to spread the word to its moviegoing congregation, but it will unlikely be the boxoffice TKO that was its predecessor.

Carman, who looks a little like magician David Copperfield, plays Orlando Leone, a former cruiserweight champ who was forced to abandon his career after he refused to turn the other cheek and take a fall for the highly unscrupulous promoter Mr. Laracco (Jed Allan).

Now a security officer/preacher who runs an inner-city youth ministry, Leone is about to lose the expansion property he had planned to renovate in memory of his late father, who was killed in a traffic accident, unless he can come up with a pile of cash.

The answer presents itself when Leone is summoned to investigate an out-of-control party in a hotel suite and ends up decking the arrogant Keshon (real-life cruiserweight contender Jeremy Williams), who now is in no condition to take part in an upcoming fight.

A solution is brokered by Laracco's lackey Freddie (Michael Nouri), who also happens to be Orlando's estranged brother. Leone and Keshon will have their rematch in a boxing ring in a "Saint vs. Sinner" highly touted bout.

Will Leone go the distance and save the youth center?

Will he and his brother be brought closer together?

Will somebody say "amen"?

As the generic scripting (credited to Carman and director Lee Stanley as well as Tony Cinciripini and Tadd Callies) goes through its thoroughly predictable paces, Carman: the Actor does likewise in a blandly earnest performance.

Following his lead are Nouri and actress-singer Patricia Manterola as Carman's love interest, but at least their low-key styles are preferable to the sinister posturing of Allan's mean old Laracco.

Calling the shots, veteran TV director Stanley steers clear of any fancy footwork, much to the detriment of the seriously underchoreographed "Raging Blah" main event.


8X Entertainment

TBN Films presents an 8X Entertainment release

A Gener8Xion Entertainment production

Director: Lee Stanley

Executive producer: Paul Crouch

Producers: Matthew Crouch, Gary M. Bettman, Lawrence Mortorff

Screenwriters: Lee Stanley & Carman and Tony Cinciripini & Tadd Callies

Story: Carman

Director of photography: Steve Adcock

Production designer: Nanci B. Roberts

Editor: Shane Stanley

Costume designer: Jyl Moder

Music: Harry Manfredini

Casting: Jean Scoccimarro



Orlando Leone: Carman

Freddie: Michael Nouri

Allia: Patricia Manterola

Mr. Laracco: Jed Allan

Cesar: Romeo Rene Fabian

Keshon: Jeremy Williams

Running time -- 90 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13


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2004 | 2001

1 item from 2004

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