Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

One thing I try to avoid and I never do while reviewing these movies is be mean spirited in any kind of way. To you two or three folks who read me on the regular, please point out any instances of mean spiritedness you may find in anything I write. Now saying ‘your movie sucks’ is not mean, it’s just an opinion. Saying ‘your movie sucks and you’re a stupid moron’ is mean spirited. I’ve read too much stuff on the ‘net’, no matter what the opinion happens to be on, where folks take personal shots at people they don’t know. Of course most of this is cloaked under the guise of anonymity that the Internet provides as NONE of these cats would say these things to anyone’s face. Guaranteed. You see they’re mostly cowards these people with the only power they feel they have coming from the tips of their fingertips in a dark room hovered over a computer. Since I’m delusional in believing that I can kick just anybody’s ass this side of Lennox Lewis, I’ve never felt a need to ‘type tough’ or insult anybody and have often challenged many a net coward who feels a need to do just that. Damn I hate net cowards. Why in the world am I going off on this insane moral tangent? Because I want to present to you the horrificness (?) of the film ‘Blood of a Champion’ while attempting to keep myself in check and avoiding taking any personal shots of anyone involved in this film.

My man Bokeem Woodbine is Shadow, a man who is in the midst of doing 10 years hard time, but gets a visit at least once a week from his girl Sharon (Deborah Cox) who is loyal to a fault to her man. When Shadow’s 10 years are up Sharon is there to pick him up and now the Husband and Wife, as Sharon and Shadow married whilst he was incarcerated, start their life on the outside. Things are a little different though as Sharon is no longer that ‘around the way’ Brooklyn girl that Shadow used to know but a big time advertising exec pushing Benzo and living Condo. Sharon is patient though as Shadow attempts to adjust to life on the outside, despite the fact he often wakes up at night choking her near to death. Not cool Shadow, not cool.

Sharon gets her man employment in the mail room at her job, but Shadow is really only good at one thing and that’s beating the hell out of dudes and soon becomes involved with the mob, or some weird Italian-esque dude doing mob speak, and starts participating in underground fights. Now in between these fights Shadow and Sharon have all kinds of virulent disagreements, including one which Sharon accused Shadow of being ‘anal’ which almost got her skull caved in, then there was this odd British hooker floating around who Shadow liked to party with, he’s also trying to deal with a brain tumor and he is reunited with the father he never met who is on Death Row. Add to all of this that now Sharon is with child, and Shadow wants ‘out of the game’, but that weird mob dude won’t let him out until he fights one more time. Will Shadow survive? He has a brain tumor you know.

Writer Director Producer Lawrence Page is to be admired in some sense because he’s doing the damn thing for real. Getting a film produced to completion is not an easy thing to accomplish and he’s proven quite adept at pulling this off and amassing a good bit of acting talent to assist him in his cause. Unfortunately we can’t admire Mr. Page for his abilities as a filmmaker. The first film of Mr. Page’s I saw was ‘Confessions of a Call Girl’ which was easily one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. My wife curses me to this day for making her watch it, and this is a woman who will watch Black people do just about anything on camera and convince herself she’s being entertained. ‘Girlfriends’ I’m talking to you. The thing that has me concerned is that ‘Confessions’ is worse than ‘Blood of a Champion’ but ‘Confessions’ was made AFTER ‘Blood of a Champion’ which doesn’t bode well.

Similar to ‘Confessions’ the scripting and dialog was forced at best as normal people rarely talk each in this manner, there were technical glitches galore in the editing and sound which is completely inexcusable, the framing and shot selections were working against the actors as opposed to enhancing their abilities and the story was completely unfocused and disjointed. Deborah Cox does have the ability to make whatever words come out of her mouth sound like the gospel truth but her silky smooth assured voice could only carry the film so far. SPOILER though, as we find out Shadow is in jail for triple homicide. And he also MAXED out his time. I know it was a revenge killing and all and the judge may have been lenient, but it was premeditated triple homicide with leniency being, one would think, avoiding the needle. But his old man is getting the needle for killing a man in the boxing ring after being framed for using lead in his gloves. See what I mean?

I tend to poke fun at these movies, as I did with ‘Confessions’ but now it’s stopped being funny because we gotta do better than this. We seriously have to do better than this. Codeblack… we gotta do better than this.

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