cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full size poster

The Hurricane

Starring Denzel Washington
Screenplay by Armyan Bernstein, Dan Gordon and Chris Cleveland
Based on "The 16th Round" by Rubin Carter and "The Hurricane" by Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton
Directed by Norman Jewison

IN SHORT: Not a knock out [Rated [R], 146 minutes]

This is the story of The Hurricane, a boxer whose life never dealt him a fair break. Cheated of the middleweight championship by a questionable decision, falsely arrested and railroaded through a court system by racist prosecutors and lying witnesses, most of us had never heard of the man until Bob Dylan wrote a song in the mid-70s and actors like Ellen Burstyn took up the man's cause. But even at his best, actor Denzel Washington hasn't managed to captivate this pair of eyes while a nagging question kept bouncing around in my brain as this flick unspooled.

A problem with scripts based on real stories is that some characters are invented or "composites" from multiple people to help tell the story. Cranky doesn't know which are which but in its efforts to point the finger at racist cops and prosecutors (given the timeframe, totally believable) this film opens up major questions about the competency of Carter's legal counsel through his first two trials and a failed appeal. Somehow, I don't think that was it's intent.

It's set up this way. In Paterson New Jersey, 1964, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is a minor celebrity. On the night in question, he's been hanging out in a bar, just having a good time, while the wife (Debbi Morgan) is home taking care of the baby. He offers a buddy, John Artis (Garland Whitt), a ride home. During that ride the pair is pulled over by the police looking for two murder suspects driving a similar car. Though witnesses clear them, a racist cop detective (Dan Hedaya), who has a long history with the Carter tells the boxer to his face that he's going down for murder. The changes his story. An all white jury ships the pair off to jail with three life sentences each, no questions asked.

Is anybody out there thinking "Carter and Artis have multiple witnesses for their alibi?" Unless I blinked and missed it, close to ninety minutes pass until the script reveals a discrepancy as to when the police were notified about the shootings (as opposed to what time the other partyers can attest to). That, in turn, leads to the big trial which caps off this flick. The legal team we meet has only been on the case for a decade, so there's a huge gap of time and a big question of evidence that does not make sense. If you give a movie viewer, in this case me, over an hour to let the question about alibi nag at the back of his brain, that's a failure of the script.

As far as prison inmates go, you couldn't conceive of a more contrary prisoner. Refusing to admit any kind of guilt for the crime, the man refuses to follow any orders or submit to the systems in force in the prison. Only the intervention of a sympathetic prison guard (Clancy Brown) keeps the man from complete self destruction.

Which brings us to the central characters of this flick, three Canadians (John Hannah, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber) and one relocated kid from Brooklyn who spends a quarter for a copy of Rubin Carter's "The Sixteenth Round" at a used book sale. To the kidlet, Lesra (Vicellous Reon Shannon), Carter's life could have been his. He contacts and eventually meets the prisoner, bringing Carter out of a self imposed shell. When Carter tries to shut them out, as he did his wife many years before, they refuse to let him. The group move to the states to work the case, putting their lives literally on the line to do so.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Hurricane, he would have paid...


Sorry folks. You can't leave an obvious alibi, and the reason it didn't work, out of the script for as long as the writers do and expect us to hold tight. Good performances all around (and for the second time this year, Rod Steiger plays the judge who holds the final say) can't save it.

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.