Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Power of One (1990)

Lovely, but overly literary saga of a young English boy growing up amongst racist Afrikaners and natives in South Africa. The film starts out with its protaganist as around 7 years old, both on-screen and in narration, and then moves on about half an hour in to him at around 14-15, and then again later to a young Steven Dorff; this sprawling, ambitious storytelling is disconnecting, and stretches ones patience by the time Mr. Dorff attempts to command the picture. The other big marquee name here is Morgan Freeman, and his presence, along with that of Armin Mueller-Stahl, adds a lot of class to the proceedings, but it's limited to the first half of the film, which is actually fairly captivating. It is when the protagonist begins to settle into his role as a community leader that the film begins to grow repetitive, predictable, and stale. However, the locations and cinematography are fantastic, and the action, including some boxing scenes, is well-directed and shot.

Slightly Recommended to fans of lush African tales or the novel it is based on. It is more confident and self-assured than John G. Avildsen's earlier ciassics, The Karate Kid and Rocky, but nowhere near as cohesive and fun.

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