Spike Lee tried to get a movie about American hero Jackie Robinson, starring Denzel Washington, off the ground for many years, but couldn’t make it happen. I get a feeling that Lee, who made one of the great biopics with Malcolm X, would’ve done something really special with the subject. This effort from director Brian Helgeland (Payback) is OK, even really good at times, but it gets awfully hokey in too many moments. Chadwick Boseman is a great pick to play Robinson, as is Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese. Harrison Ford delivers big time as Branch Rickey, the man who brought Robinson to the majors, and Christopher Meloni leaves the movie all too soon as Dodgers manager Leo Durocher (Durocher was suspended the year Robinson made his debut). Boseman shines, even when the movie doesn’t, and it’s a lot of fun to see Ford do something this craggy and different. I’m thinking Robinson went through some major hell during his baseball times, and the movie only scratches the surface. It’s good, but it should’ve been great.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Producer: Thomas Tull, Dick Cook, Jon Jashni and Jason Clark
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black, Andre Holland, Alan Tudyk, Hamish Linklater, T.R. Knight, John C. McGinley, Toby Huss, Max Gail, Brad Beyer, James Pickens Jr., Gino Anthony Pesi, Brett Cullen, Jesse Luken, Jamey Holliday and Derek Phillips