Great story with good acting and editing.
Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) takes to coaching Richmond high’s basketball team, and hopes to instil some discipline in them. Right from his first day, he makes the team sign contracts that they must uphold in order to play for the school. His son, Damien (Robert Ri’chard) begs to transfer schools so he can be coached by his father. While Damien is well mannered, Carter has a hard time keeping the other boys on track. After finding out that their grades have suffered, Carter locks the gym doors. Carter remains adamant, and the team consisting of: Kenyon Stone (Rob Brown), Timo Cruz (Rick Gonzalez), Junior Battle (Nana Gbewonyo), Worm (Antwon Tanner), Jason Lyle (Channing Tatum), and Maddux (Texas Battle) among some others, are forced to help each other academically before they can play again. Directed by Thomas Carter.
The film is based on the true story of Coach Ken Carter who benched his undefeated high school basketball team in 1999, because of their poor academic standings. While the film may not be an exact replica of what took place, it definitely is an inspiring story. It is good to know that some teachers care about where their students are headed in life, and want to put them in a position where they can better succeed.
From what I heard of this film, I had thought that Coach Carter was a very strict and controlling coach who would yell at his players. But it’s just his methods that may seem a little extreme. Overall, he is portrayed as a great coach who cares for his team. Adding that this is a bout a basketball team, I enjoyed watching it.
The basketball action is quite exciting – especially the alley oops. The practice sessions, and teamwork are all well played out as well. There were quite a few plays that made me go ‘wow, that was good’. Apparently, Channing Tatum had not played basketball before the movie, so I guess it’s a good thing we don’t see him with the ball much. On the other hand, the players on the court the most: Brown, Gbewonyo, Ri’chard, and Tanner are all great handlers and shooters.
Jackson as the coach acts his part well. He brings the intensity and sincereness of the character across the screen. The other actors also do well at playing teenagers wanting to appear cool. However, the narrative about the more grown up character Kenyon, and his girlfriend Kyra (Ashanti) was a nice side story. Their struggles exemplified why Coach Carter fights so hard to keep them from failing their classes.
Overall, a nicely made film that was both engaging and motivating. Having said that, I’m sure some parents or teachers would have supported Carter more vocally. The film basically showed Coach Carter against the world.
PROS: Acting, basketball skills, narrative
CONS: One man hero
I give this a 8/10.
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