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Champion More at IMDbPro »

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Apropos title - terrible director

Author: F_Jenkins from la
26 September 2007

What a great subject for a documentary. Trejo is an interesting man; a guy who went from prison thug to respected actor and humanitarian. He is to be respected. It's unfortunate the person who made this film was the one who was lucky enough to do it. The director and editor are terrible.

We get a lot of jump cuts in the middle of interviews which give the impression almost that the editor had no idea what he was doing; they seem like mistakes. We get a lot of color, then black and white, then color, which was nothing but annoying. Sometimes we get two shots of Trejo talking at once. I have no idea what the thought process was with this but it was also very annoying. It seems he was asked the same questions at different times so we get different shots of the same answer, which is only odd. I just wanted to see the guy answer questions, not a bunch of annoying editing.

The girl at the beginning asking questions was just awful, like a college kid making doing an interview for a class - it was unprofessional as you can get.

I would love to have seen this subject matter tackled by someone who knew what they were doing. Trejo definitely deserves that. He's great. The people who made this film are not.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Documentary on the life of Danny Trejo.

Author: BillAZ71 from United States
11 April 2005

Danny Trejo used drugs for the first time at 8 years old. Spent a number of years in prison for crimes including assault and armed robbery. Probably one of the toughest, meanest looking men you'll ever see.

Since then, Danny has helped countless people as a drug counselor and has stared in scores of movies. He has one of the best attitudes on life a person can have.

Danny Trejo is an incredible example of how one can turn their life around and make the world a better place. I saw the film at the Phoenix Film Festival and had the pleasure of a Q and A session with Danny and the director. Later, I ran into Danny at the festival, got to shake his hand, and had a few seconds of conversation with him.

Champion is a Great motivational film for anyone, trouble past or otherwise. Danny is a man that loves life, and lives to help people.

Don't miss this film.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Phoenix Film Festival 2005 Feature Documentary winner

Author: filmgreg from Phoenix
13 April 2005

This is a great documentary about one of today's more recognizable character actors, Danny Trejo. If you don't know his background, this is definitely a film you should see. From his earliest days, trouble always seemed to find Danny. The fact that the man is still alive, much less succeeding so well, is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit. With interviews from Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Robert Rodriguez, Steve Buscemi, and many more of Danny's co-stars and directors. I saw this at the 2005 Phoenix Film Festival and thought that it was the best thing there. I don't know if this has been picked up or not, but if you can find it anywhere, it's worth a look for sure.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Engaging, inspiring but flawed documentary

Author: Just-11 from UK
25 October 2005

I saw this as part of the Hollywood Film Festival. Unfamiliar with Danny Trejo's work I was totally captivated by the story of his life. From a troubled background with disinterested parents, Danny's life looked bleak. This is the story of Danny's descent into drugs, armed robbery, gangs, alcoholism, incarceration, despair and ultimate redemption as a drugs counsellor and tough-guy actor. As this was a special screening there was a Q&A with Danny and Director Joe Eckardt where they explained that this movie came from an interview with Danny on Latino actors that was supposed to be 3 minutes long, but Danny was so interesting they decided to tell his life story in a stand alone documentary. Danny's story isn't all tears - there's a lot of laughter too and some genuinely moving moments. The editing is erratic and the interviewer vapid but I really hope this gets distribution (and I hope the distributor invests in re-editing) as this story needs a wider audience.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Can one man change the world? What else ever has?

Author: Greg Abbott from United States
11 April 2005

A life-turned-metaphor, Danny Trejo's story is The Hero's Journey. Your life may not look like his life, but his life is all our lives.

Danny's young adult life was defined by violent crime and drug addiction. He spent 11 years in California prisons. He'll be the first to tell you he got what he deserved. But in prison, in isolation, he stumbled across a wisdom worthy of parable: Only by helping others can you help yourself. Danny abandoned selfish for selfless and separateness for community, and in return his sadness turned to joy and darkness turned to light. Danny walked out of his spiritual and physical prison to serve others. And after prison, Danny's road to a better life came not at anyone's expense, but at everyone's increase: in love, in values, and in faith.

"Champion" is a documentary of one man's journey, limited by its subject, and vulnerable to boredom. But it's subject defies gravity, holding its audience up and lifting them from their seats. Danny Trejo proves the adage: Comedy equals tragedy plus time. Danny is an abundance of all three. Danny Trejo reminds us that redemption is beautiful. Reaching out to God saved his life. Faith in God changed his life. Listening to Danny Trejo just might change your life.

Good Luck to the film's Producers. The film deserves it. Danny Trejo doesn't look for luck, he has faith. And, he earned it.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Please pass

Author: claramendez111 from LA
18 May 2013

All I can say is that I wanted to enjoy this documentary, but found it really does the actor a disservice. Very poor directing. Seemed at times an exercise in showing all the different things an editing program can do, very cool, if you are nine years old, but really painful to watch when not needed. Now I ran out of things to say because there is not much left to say, but in the hands of a more skilled filmmaker, this could have been interesting, instead it just seemed very amateur. But if you are a fan you may like it, I was disappointed that he did not have better talent to cover his story. Nice try but a big fat pass here.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Trejo deserves a better director/interviewer for a documentary on his life-story

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
2 June 2007

Early on in Chamion, a documentary on the hard-knock life and eventual fruitful career as character actor Danny Trejo (with now over 100 films to his name), the writer/interviewer Cecily Gambrell is asked by Trejo how this is going to go, and she responds that it should just be "like on Oprah." At that moment I sort of cringed, and it was something that would permeate throughout the rest of the film. It goes without saying that the turbulent and sort of inspiring story of Trejo's life from urban squalor to cult movie star status is impressive on its own, and to hear Trejo talk about it in any form is interesting. But the director and interviewer/writer of the film almost go out of their way to make it filmed in an dissatisfying way, which is troubling. At times, with the fade-to-white transitions (which are used quite often), the title cards explaining this or that about Trejo's early years into prison-life, and the shoddy camera-work (frankly I think my near-blind mother could shoot better than this), make it a little unpleasant as a form of storytelling.

Of course, I'm not expecting this to be an Errol Morris or Al Maysles film, but there just seems to be some lack of drive in how the director moves Trejo's story along, and the questions only probe so far enough so that Trejo goes on with his stories simply enough and without too much pretense (the stories involving Bunker are, in fact, some of the best parts, or at least least contrived, in the film). Which is fine, but there seems to be even more under the surface in Trejo's long and bumpy road from juvenile delinquent, habitual drug-user, thief, inmate, and eventual rehabilitated and strong-as-hell actor, than is really checked out on, and it's a little pathetic to see the same short clips from *Spy Kids* shown when his fellow colleagues like Buscemi and Robert Rodriguez talk about his work as a bad-ass in films like Con Air and Desperado (sure it's probably a rights issue, but still, it's such a lame clip to show, even if he is technically playing Machete).

In short, I think that compared to this, a man like Trejo would probably have an awesome time on Oprah's show- maybe not jumping on the couch, but who knows? It almost seems like Rodriguez himself- a second cousin of Trejo- should've made this documentary, as opposed to Eckhart, who's never done a documentary, which shows. This all said, the criticism I had though is really only of the style of camera and editing and the questions given on screen; Trejo himself is consistently watchable and engaging, and its for him alone, if you're a fan (and who isn't after seeing the Machete trailer during Grindhouse), that it's worth checking out.

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Very engaging and interesting.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
10 December 2014

I noticed that one reviewer really, really, really hated this film. While some of their concerns about the quality of the production were fair, how could the film earn such a low score when Danny Trejo's life story is so exciting and engaging?! Even if it had been shot using an iPhone, it couldn't help but be worth your time.

Danny Trejo is probably the busiest guy in Hollywood. In 2014, he appeared in about 20 different films--now that is clearly busy! The film is Danny and a few friends and family discussing his life. As a teen, he was a crazy punk with an apparent death wish. Then, after spending more than a decade in prison, he made a huge change--kicking drugs and alcohol, finding God and becoming a role model...not to mention a movie star! It's a really amazing story about redemption and I liked the simplicity of the story as it was told. Well worth seeing.

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"Fear turned outward is anger."- Danny Trejo

Author: poe426 from USA
24 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Trejo's rugged face is a road map of the road FROM Hell, and this documentary tells how he got There and Back; it's a revelation. Trejo pulls no punches, holds nothing back. Revisiting his old stomping grounds- the prison yard at San Quentin-, he says, "You got people here doing Forever." (In prison- THE ANIMAL FACTORY, as Eddie Bunker called it-, Steve Buscemi learns, "cell number" means something other than it does on the outside.) Trejo's account of the enthusiastic response to his first part was funny. "Where did you STUDY?" He responds by running down a list of places he robbed. In MACHETE, he says, "I play a Good bad guy." His role as a counselor is even more impressive. "Our prison guards make more money than our teachers." Dennis Hopper sums it up best: "He's a champion."

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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Danny Trejo should take out the director and producer!

Author: Albert Garcia from United States
15 June 2007

First of all, let me say that I am a fan of Danny Trejo. I enjoy all of his movies and I wish him the best in everything he does, but this documentary did not do him justice. This piece had so much potential that I feel the director and producer messed up. The had some good footage but it lacked so many elements to tell his story. Here's what the story needed. First, there should of been a mixture of soundbites, photos, film footage, music, etc. to get the viewers attention. Draw the viewer in to the piece. Second, get rid of the producer asking questions on the couch and walking around with Danny on the streets. She was in the way, she was like a reporter in training. Third, what's up with the interview in the yard with him in the shade and the sun in the background. Fourth, he's been in so many movies that there was more than enough footage on him and yet the only thing the director and producer found was spy kids. 5th, he talks a lot of Soledad Prison, the director went to San Quentin and on the way back to L.A. he could not stop by Soledad to shoot a few shots of the prison. The most important thing to remember is to tell a story, listen to what Danny Trejo is saying and you know what kind of footage you need to tell his story. Just tell a story. Last thing is that the director never talked about his famous tattoos. What about the tattoos?

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