03 May The Great White Hype
Boxing is more than just a sport — it’s also a business and a con game in this satirical comedy. Rev. Fred Sultan (Samuel L. Jackson) is a shrewd boxing promoter and manager whose meal ticket is heavyweight champion James “The Grim Reaper” Roper (Damon Wayans), a fighter whose skill and confidence significantly outstrips his intelligence. While the top-ranked contender for Roper’s title is Marvin Shabazz (Michael Jace), Sultan isn’t too keen on the idea of Shabazz fighting Roper — it seems that both fighters are black, and Sultan’s figures show that mixed race matches stir up a lot more media attention and pay-per-view customers. Eager to find a white challenger for Roper, Sultan digs up Terry Conklin (Peter Berg), who won a Golden Gloves fight against Roper many years ago but is now out of the game and fronting a rock band called Massive Head Wound. Thanks to a few bribes and a couple of fixed fights, Sultan is able to arrange for Conklin to be next in line to battle “The Grim Reaper.” However, Conklin is taking his renewed career as a boxer quite seriously, while Roper, convinced that Conklin doesn’t stand a chance, has let himself go and gained a lot of weight. Suddenly Sultan realizes that Roper might just lose the piece-of-cake fight he’s so carefully arranged, while journalist Mitchell Kane (Jeff Goldblum) smells a rat in Conklin’s sudden rise to ranking status. Jon Lovitz, Cheech Marin, and Corbin Bernsen highlight the supporting cast, while members of the well-regarded alternative rock band Local H appear as Massive Head Wound.
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