Directors: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin (as The Erwin Brothers)
Cast: Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid
Release Date: February 22, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
American Underdog tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stockboy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. The film centers on Warner’s unique story and years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player – but just when his dreams seemed all but out of reach, it is only with the support of his wife, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and the encouragement of his family, coaches, and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is. American Underdog is an uplifting story that demonstrates that anything is possible when you have faith, family and determination.
Please Note: Lionsgate Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘American Underdog’ tells the inspirational true story of football player Kurt Warner (Levi) and his rise to stardom, even with all odds against him. The film follows Kurt from his college days and through his struggle to make his way into the game. Along the way he finds the love of his life Brenda (Paquin) and attempts to work a normal job as a grocery store stock boy before being provided an unexpected chance to show his talents in arena games, all prior to becoming the legendary player most know him as. With plenty of struggles, tough decisions and a new family to consider, Warner never gives up and this moving tale of his rise to success showcases his path to greatness.
Directed by Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin, better known as The Erwin Brothers (I Still Believe, Woodlawn) from a screenplay by Jon Erwin & David Aaron Cohen (Friday Night Lights) and Jon Gunn (I Still Believe) which was based on the Book “All Things Possible” by Kurt Warner with Michael Silver respectively, the Erwin Brothers do a nice job at the helm of ‘American Underdog’ guiding along this true tale with a clear appreciation of the story and the man it’s based on. The film also benefits from a well selected cast that includes Zachary Levi (Shazam!), Anna Paquin (TV’s True Blood), Ser’Darius Blain (Jumanji: The Next Level), Dennis Quaid (Midway) and more, with the majority each offering fitting and quite solid performances for the most part in their respective roles.
‘American Underdog’ is an uplifting and quite rewarding true tale of one man’s journey to greatness and his unwavering dedication to earn his chance at stardom against the odds and hurdles stacked against him. It’s a beautiful tale of hope and faith that will have you rooting for Warner as he fights to become the star we know. It never disregards the kindness and more touching personal elements in favor of on the field action, while always still doing enough to showcase the game’s importance within. The filmmaking duo The Erwin Brothers do a solid job at the helm of this true tale and the pair who have become known for their strong emphasis on faith-based storytelling do a great job of bringing that into the story to a degree without ever letting it become the key focus of the tale. Their work in the directors seats are further complemented by capable and quite fitting performances by the cast and it all comes together into a beautiful and inspirational film that’s almost guaranteed to touch your heart throughout. I would urge anyone that’s a fan of the real Kurt Warner or star Zachary Levi along with anyone who is merely intrigued by this true tale to make a point of giving it a whirl whenever convenient. It can be a bit jumbled in its attempt to include so much of his life story within a runtime that’s just shy of two hours, but the altogether rewarding result is still well worth checking out.
Overall, ‘American Underdog’ is a touching and inspirational look at the true story of one man’s journey to greatness and his refusal to give up on his dream, even with the chips stacked against him. It occasionally gets overwhelmed by how much of the story they attempt to jam into the runtime, but its uplifting nature and beauty overcomes its faults enough to make it very much worthwhile. ‘American Underdog’ is definitely recommended, especially for fans of the real life football star it’s based on, along with anyone who is fond of the key cast or just interested in the film itself, each should find something to appreciate within. If you’re understandably hesitant to cough up the money on a blind purchase, it should be worth the price of a rental and a couple hours of your time at the very least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘American Underdog’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish without any unexpected issues arising along the way. It holds up great even during the many fast moving and heavily populated moments throughout and never results in anything that’s occurring onscreen becoming negatively affected or problematic. Overall, this is a very nice high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that capably delivers throughout and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack offers a crisp, clean and fairly immersive audio presentation throughout that’s never lacking in any department. It repeatedly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send crowd noise, along with some nature content and more throughout the various speakers whenever fitting and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a great Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that should easily please fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release of ‘American Underdog’ is jam-packed with bonus content that fans should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, and Producer Kevin Downes’, along with a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie with Optional Commentary by Andrew Erwin (running approximately 18 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to various Behind the Scenes Featurettes and discussions that explore the true story and bringing the film to life, including behind the scenes footage, plus interviews/comments with the cast, crew and real life individuals, along with more. The included Featurettes and interviews/discussions are ‘Inspired’ (running approximately 14 minutes), ‘Making the Cut’ (approximately 14 minutes), ‘A Coach’s Faith’ (31 minutes), ‘New to the Scene: Hayden Zaller’ (6 minutes), ‘American Underdog: Meet the Team’ (15 minutes), ‘Behind the Game’ (8 minutes) and ‘American Underdog: Behind the Story’ (3 minutes). The film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes) is also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
‘American Underdog’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Kingdom Story Company & Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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