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The Great White Hype
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The Great White Hype More at IMDbPro »

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

An Excellent Story of Modern Boxing

Author: Tiger_Mark ( from TeXas
16 October 2001

I have to admit that when I rented this movie, I was expecting a dumb comedy that would fail to show the reality of boxing. However, this film is a very funny film that also has a rather keen insight into the current state of boxing. Samuel L. Jackson plays a "Don King" type guy that is stuck with the problem of having a champ that might be too good. No one wants to pay to see the guy, because there are no quality fighters out there to challenge him. So, Jackson goes about creating a contender for the champ. What is the one thing you need to get people in the arena to watch? Well, a white challenger of course, experience not necessary. Surely many white Americans will pay to see one of their own knock down the overly cocky, black champ. Berg plays the "Great White Hope." The beauty of this film is the comedic way that it shows the real life corruption in boxing today. Fights are fixed, promotions are staged and very rarely do you have the best fighting the best. Moreover, we as viewers fall into the same trap that boxing fans do. Here you have an unqualified contender, that has no prayer of beating the champ. However, as we see the hype done by these snake oil salesmen, we start to believe that Berg's character actually has a chance to win. If you are a boxing fan, you will love this film, because it is real. Even if you are not a boxing fan, you will enjoy it. Very funny film and great acting performances. Believe the hype!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Likeable enough comedy slugfest

Author: Leigh Loveday from UK
2 November 1999

Okay, it's not the best film ever made, but it's an affable little number which'll certainly keep you entertained for an hour and a half. The storyline always seems secondary and the satire's never quite as punchy (ahaha... ha) as it should be, but there are some great comedy moments and a host of memorable characters (Damon Wayans' drawling pot-bellied champ, Peter Berg's peabrained challenger, Jeff Goldblum's rambling TV crusader, John Rhys-Davies' sweaty, foul-mouthed trainer) - and Sam Jackson's permanent big grin is all too infectious. Genuinely funny comedies aren't that easy to come by these days, so this one could definitely be a contender, give it a shot at the title, stick it up your ring etc. I'll get me coat.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Very sharp boxing satire!

Author: Sammy_Sam_Sam from United Kingdom
8 May 2007

Reading through the reviews on here, I can only assume that the humour in this film was wasted on a lot of people. Boxing is one of the few sports that translates well into the movies, with there being a decent number of great films based around the sport. This is slightly different to most however, as it takes a very humorous, cynical approach. There are so many memorable scenes and lines in the movie, right from the opening scene it's spot-on and I really can't work out where this criticism of the direction stems from! The fight scenes are over quickly and are nothing like the real thing - obviously - it's a comedy, not a documentary (sigh).

Like I said, I can only assume that the biting satire has been wasted on some viewers who were clearly expecting something different from the film. Each to their own, the film seems to have missed it's audience, but a 5 or 6 out of ten it certainly isn't! For me, it's definitely one of the better comedies out there. It's sharp, funny and well worth watching. 8 out of 10.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Smart Satirical Jest !

Author: ahmed elshikh ( from Egypt
22 March 2010

The situation is perfect. It's one of the movies where there is nothing bad to refer to. It's about only one match and how it exposes the contradictions of this world; which's here the community of boxing. I loved how the whole characters declare something moral while achieving their hidden, damn materialistic, aims. In fact the shown scene is for America when money is god, and 99 % of the Americans are so godly! The casting is the movie's biggest hit; everyone was in the right place. The script is lissome, coming to its point without any elongation. The characters are made in a way suits the desired in this drollery of a movie. It harmonies smartly, carrying out itself as enjoyable, being an enough compensation from director (Reginald Hudlin) for his previous, real bad, movie (Boomerang – 1992). It was so good to an extent forces you to ask why it was that short? Why the gifted supporting actors (Jon Lovitz, Cheech Marin, Jamie Foxx,..) didn't have more on-screen time with more material? Actually, it's not basically a comedy inasmuch as a satire; that could bother some I suppose, since the funniness wasn't as high as the sarcastic criticism, with comic actors around while not making many laughs. However, it said all what Oliver Stone's surely heavier, louder and longer movie (Any Given Sunday) stretched and overload 3 years later, and in focused nice way as well. (The Great White Hype) is a jest where the substance is itself the surface totally unlike the world it sneered at. It's only imperfect point is that some jests can't be used more than once. So, despite how I liked it, I may find nothing in it to be re-watched again (except for Damon Wayans running after the ice cream's van of course !). Finally, do I smell a point of view in the title about how the great hype is "white" in the first place ?!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

For Once the Hype is Worth It.

Author: david-sarkies from Australia
3 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first I was not interested in this film, but then I saw a preview of it and noticed that Samuel L. Jackson was playing one of his slimy characters I decided that I might give it a shot. It was only $1.50 a week at the video shop, so if I didn't like it then I would not have felt that ripped off. I remember when it was on in the cinemas. My sister had a free ticket and the only movie that we could see was this one. I decided not to and used my free ticket to see Independence Day. As I pull this movie apart, I will reveal a lot, so if you do not want to know what happens, read no further. Anyway, this was actually quite a good movie. As the title tells us, it is about hype. It is about manipulating things to gain money and power. The movie is focused around the Reverend (Samuel L. Jackson) who is the manager of a boxer known as Roper (Damon Wayans). Roper is the heavy weight champion but nobody is watching his fights because it is with other negros and as such boring, so the Reverend comes upon an idea of creating a great White boxer to take on Roper, and he comes up with a boxer who beat Roper when he was an amateur.

The movie is about manipulation and how power does not fall. It is interesting to note that the Reverend is not defeated, rather he seizes on his opportunity to not only create a champion, but to keep the money rolling in. He tries to keep his champion happy, but Roper wants money, so he promises a fight, one with the white guy.

This movie is incredibly well made because we all get caught up in the hype over the white boxer. He is little more than a heavy metal singer, but he beat Roper once and as such is the one who must confront Roper to make a great fight. Everybody believes the hype, and as such we get caught up in the hype. What adds to it is that we believe in the typical Hollywood ending where the White boxer wins and the Reverend becomes nothing. The end of this movie shows us that it is nothing more than hype as the White boxer is knocked out with one well placed punch and does not get up.

It is also interesting to note that in this movie money makes everything. The Reverend has everybody under his belt, including the director of the boxing organisation, and what he says goes. When the investigative reporter walks in in his desire to blow the Reverend's sydicate open, he is thrown a job and money and instantly changes his morals. This movie shows us that morals collapse so easily with enough money, and that everybody has their price.

This is a movie of corruption and manipulation, set in the decadence of Las Vegas. Okay I have probably given a lot away in this movie, but it is difficult to pull it apart without doing so.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Funny, Boxing Insider type Movie

Author: lambiepie-2 from Los Angeles, CA
25 November 2003

First of all, this movie is funny. Even if you're not an insider to the world of boxing, this film makes many references you'll recognize and goes over the top with it and with some of the flamboyant people who have graced the sport.

Then there is the whole idea of finding a white boxer, besides the obligatory "Rocky" that is, that people can get behind to breathe new life into the sport.

Here you have every stereotype of that world thrown in from the promoters to the media personnel who made boxing what it is today -- Hype.

Here is a promoter who is keeping his client from fighting the one guy who can actually beat him (hence ruin their meal tickets), to come up with someone else to make Hype and recover funds he already spent that he can't pay the boxing champ. That among other things. Samuel L. Jackson is fun to watch as is Jeff Goldblum and Jamie Fox and Damon Wayons as the over-hyped champ. Rounding this out is the usual bottom feeders played well by Jon Lovitz and Corbin Bernsen. This movie can be uneven at times, but overall its entertainment, and a sarcastic view into the boxing promotion world like no other. Two stars out of four.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Vastly underrated, hilarious film

Author: AlbinoAl from United Kingdom
21 February 2005

I'd never heard of this film when I saw it but I was tempted by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson. I was not disappointed.

I am not a fan of boxing and know nothing about the sport but this film is more about corruption in sport and grubby business dealings, and is simply set in the world of boxing. That said, the idea could not be successfully transposed to another arena thanks to the flamboyant and corrupt nature of the boxing world.

Samuel L. Jackson is deliciously over the top and excellent support from comedy stalwarts like Jeff Goldblum, Jon Lovitz, Damon Wayans, John Rhys Davies, and the increasingly famous Jamie Foxx make this a riotous comedy. This is one of the most quotable films I've ever come across and if you're a fan of comedy you won't regret watching this, even if you don't like it as much as I do.

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The most realistic boxing film ever made.

Author: zeeboe82 from United States
27 January 2015

"The Great White Hype" is a 1996 comedy directed by Reginald Hudlin and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Fox, Jeff Goldblum, Jon Lovitz, Damon Wayans, Peter Berg, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and John Rhys-Davies.

"Rocky", "Raging Bull", "Million Dollar Baby", "Cinderella Man" and "The Fighter" are some of the most popular boxing films of all time. "Punch-Out" is a classic video game. All these stories have one thing in common - They all feature a white person as the star, even though in real life the majority of famous boxers are African-American, yet there are no ultra- mainstream-loved movies or video games about black fighters or any other black athlete.

That is why "The Great White Hype" is the most realistic boxing film ever made.

After running into some money problems, sports organizer Fred Sultan believes people are tired of watching black boxers compete with other black boxers. Sultan thinks the ideal option to pick in order to restore society's attraction to professional boxing is to produce a white opponent for the African-American undisputed, undefeated heavyweight champion, James "The Grim Reaper" Roper.

Sultan bases his viewpoint on the fact that in 1982 a black boxer named Larry Holmes faced a white boxer named Gerry Cooney and the bout generated millions of dollars and that was because race played a key factor.

Since there are no current famous white sportsmen, Sultan thinks white people are desperate for a famous white athlete and that with the right press coverage, he can make a white hero.

A little later, Sultan and his staff review various matches on video tapes of different white boxers for consideration. At the conclusion of the inspection, Sultan determines that there are clearly no reliable white contenders with marketable value to compete with Roper.

A young woman in Sultan's camp named Bambi suggests that Roper fight whoever once beat him when he was a beginner.

Sultan loves the idea and creates a Great White Hope out of an amateur boxer turned eccentric Buddhist rock musician from Ohio named Terry Conklin who once defeated Roper in a novice match.

After being offered a big payday and a promise that he will be trained by Johnny Windsor - the best manager in the boxing business - Conklin agrees to return to the ring to take on Roper for the championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saint Patrick's Day.

The plan work likes a charm. Just like how so many boxing films and video games about fictitious white fighters are popular with white people, Terry Conklin becomes a role-model for white people everywhere. White people order the pay-per-view for the match, buy tickets to see it live and gamble on Conklin to win.

While Conklin dedicates his time to training with Windsor, Roper takes it easy, threatening Sultan's thoroughly orchestrated revival.

I love this film because I enjoy boxing, Las Vegas, Saint Patrick's Day, novelties, and the cast of this film. I also have nostalgia for mid-1990's entertainment and I find racism to be a fascinating study of human behavior. Finally, I like that this film is ninety minutes. Anything over that is typically too long.

The soundtrack has a lot of rap music, so if that's your genre, you're in for a treat.

The film is not available on blu-ray. It's only on DVD and there are no special features.

If you like films that use bigotry as comedy such as "Blazing Saddles", then you will enjoy "The Great White Hype".

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Irish stallion

Author: jotix100 from New York
5 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Reginald Hudlin's "The Great White Hype" is a satire about what's wrong in boxing. The sport has had its share of bad luck, as it seems to attract a criminal element to what should be a competition between two men in the ring. The film starts with a promise to make justice to the material that Ron Shelton, one of the best writers/directors that has done his share about sports, co-wrote, but it feels as though something is missing, especially the anti-climactic conclusion.

The best thing in the film is Samuel L. Jackson, an immensely talented actor who feels right at home portraying these low lives that only he can give them life and even make them likable. We wouldn't miss a movie in which this actor play because he always delivers, as is the case with his cunning character, the Reverend Fred Sultan. He is a boxing promoter who likes to cheat on his boxers, which is what he does to the actual champion, James, the Grim Reaper, Roper. Instead of paying him the money he owes him, he buys him another Rolls Royce.

Reverend Sultan comes up with a great idea for his protégé Roper. He has heard the way the champ was defeated in his early years by Terry Conklin, a man that now has a career as a singer. Promising Terry a lot of money if he agrees, Sultan cons him into fighting Roper again and he creates a hype around the fight, the main attraction being, a black boxer, who is a champion, fighting an unknown white man. The racial implications play into the minds of the fans.

Everything leading up to the match plays well. The only problem is the figure of Mitchell Kane, a sports commentator, who has been critical of the sleazy Reverend. Sultan takes care of that bringing him on board his team. On the other hand, loyal Sol, who has been with the Reverend for a while, gets fired.

Damon Wayans has some good opportunities to show what a talented actor he really is. He knows he can defeat Terry Conklin. In the process of waiting for the fight he begins eating and puts on weight. Others in the film are, Jamie Foxx, who has a small, but effective role as the manager of another black boxer who wants to fight Roper. Peter Berg is clearly out of his league in the film as Terry Conklin a man who wants to eradicate the homelessness in America with the ten million dollars he has been promised. Jeff Goldblum, a good actor, is not convincing as Mitchell Kane. The beautiful Salli Richardson appears as Bambi, an intelligent young woman who clearly understands what's going on.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very Underrated Film

Author: Tromadz
11 February 2005

This movie doesn't get the credit it deserves as far as satire goes. It pokes a lot of fun at boxers and boxing itself. If you do not know anything about boxing this movie is still very enjoyable. If you have heard of Mike Tyson and Don King you will be good to go.

Sam Jackson and Damon Wayons head up the Boxer\Promoter duo. They are very funny together, and anytime Jon Lovitz joins in on the fun only adds to the experience. Jamie Fox is an opposing boxer's manager and as you can imagine, is pretty funny.

In the movie, The Sultan(Jackson) is trying to make more money off of his star boxer(Wayons). Their relationship is fine as long as the money is rolling in. However, PPV rates are falling and they need a new angle to get more viewers and more money. The Sultan decides to have "the champ" fight the only man to beat him in the amateur leagues. This man happens to be a WHITE man. This is where the movie goes all out and will make you laugh at racism\prejudices of boxing, and in society in general. Not many movies make you laugh at racism, but this one does a fine job.

The movie has a great cast(Sam Jackson, Damon Wayons, Jon Lovitz, Jeff Goldblum, Cheech Marin, Jamie Fox, and Peter Berg as the white Terry Conklin(who you probably know as a director, not an actor).

Very Enjoyable movie. It is fun, star-filled, and a good time all around. It doesn't drag on and hits it's marks perfectly. I hope you take the time to watch it if it is ever on.

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