An investigation of the wrongful death of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas on December 7, 1989, after prosecutors ignored evidence inculpating a man, who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted.
A burned-out bodyguard is hired to protect the man he hates the most: an international assassin who destroyed his career and ruined his life. Forced to put his personal feelings on hold, ... See full summary »
The true story of the relationship between world heavyweight champion Joe Louis and European heavyweight champion Max Schmelling is one of the "truth is stranger than fiction" variety. In their first meeting in 1936, a young Joe Lewis was the leading contender for a title shot while the 10 years older German Schmelling was the European champion. When underdog Schmelling defeated Lewis he reluctantly became a propaganda icon for Hitlers regime. Lewis at that time was the pride and hope of the "Negro race" (as people of African lineage were then called by decent people), but "white" America apparently was wary of him. After he beat Schmelling in the second fight Lewis became an idol of all America, while the embarrassed Nazis made Schmelling a non-entity in Nazi Germany. During the war Schmelling was made an ordinary soldier in the German Army, while Lewis' tour in the US Army was as a celebrity used for troop morale. Later, after Lewis retired undefeated, he learned that he owed a huge amount of money to the IRS and had to go back into boxing to try to rid himself of the debt. (The film does not get into the details, but supposedly Lewis, who was not well educated, had relied on his manager and promoter to handle his finances, including preparing tax returns.) But Lewis was too old now and was humiliated in the ring. He then took a variety of demeaning jobs in an attempt to pay off the debt, which he never was able to accomplish. The movie does not address the disgraceful issue of why no U.S. President gave him some sort of a pardon forgiving this American hero of the debt. In the meantime, Schmelling has a phoenix-like reversal of fortune when Coca Cola sought him out to use him in a campaign to capture the German market for its product.
So the basis for an interesting movie was there. The problem was in the implementation.
The film seemed badly paced and choppy. Many of the scenes seemed to me needlessly drawn out, with the camera sometimes lingering on objects, such as a railroad train for no reason that I can think of. The parts of the film I liked best are the scenes in with Schmelling (Til Schweiger) and his actress wife (Peta Wilson) in Germany.
As was noted in another comment, the actors looked nothing like the well known people they were portraying. Although not stated in the IMDb cast listing, it looked to me that different actors were used for the younger and older Joe Lewis, with neither resembling the real Joe Lewis nor even each other. Rocky Marciano, a short fireplug of a fighter with a battered face he got wading into his taller, longer armed opponents that often made him look more like the loser than the winner of his fights, was played by a tall unmarked fighter. The musical score does nothing to aid the movie.
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