There have been a lot of boxing movies that have come and gone and they’ve all had one thing in common: they all focus on a lot of drama outside of the ring. Some focus on the drama inside the ring as well while others focus on the action that happens in and out of the ring. But The Champ is definitely a drama that a lot of people saw as inspirational growing up since Jon Voight and Ricky Schroder, along with Faye Dunaway, put on a good show for the audience. Things have changed since then, and resurrecting this story with a reboot might be an interesting proposition so long as those that were in the original movie, at least the main characters, were offered the chance for a cameo or perhaps even a role that might be worthwhile. It’s a stretch to be certain since Ricky Schroder hasn’t been seen as much and Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway are getting up there in years. But it would still be kind of interesting to see what might happen. For those that don’t remember the story it’s a pretty simple and straightforward tale since ex-boxer Billy Flynn, aka Voight, hangs up his gloves and tries to live a steady life with his son T.J., aka Schroder. When he’s challenged to a fight by another boxer things start to go off the rails as T.J.’s mother comes back into the picture. The problem is that Billy told T.J. she was dead after she left them, which causes a bigger issue after Billy has to go to jail after assaulting several people over the matter of a horse race. When Annie, aka Dunaway, tries to convince T.J.that she is his mother he rejects her and ends up going back to his father. Once the big fight comes along Billy is told that his condition is worsening and too many shots to the head could be fatal, as he’s had headaches that have been worsening over time. Following the match, Billy dies and T.J. ends up going to live with his mother. So yes, massive spoilers, but considering how long the movie’s been around it’s still worth watching to fill in the details.
It’s easy to ask if it’s the right time to reboot this movie, again, since it originally came out in 1931, and was then brought back in 1979 with the actors listed above, so perhaps after four decades, it’s time to bring it out again and shine a little more light on it. The question though is whether it would be kept as a boxing movie or moved into a different arena where the stakes are just as high and the issues are just as plentiful. Taking The Champ into MMA or some other discipline might be kind of interesting simply because it would widen the talent pool a little bit, and the current era would definitely invite some serious diversity when it comes to the supporting characters since people tend to care about this more than the acting talent that people can bring, at least sometimes. But the overall story is one that we’ve seen told in a number of ways, so switching it up a bit might actually be beneficial in order to tell a story that’s essentially the same and has the same characters, the same feel to it, and a familiarity that a lot of people might enjoy if it were to happen. So long as the main point of the story is kept and the idea doesn’t deviate too much it does feel as though The Champ could be a worthy reboot. I can’t believe I’m saying that more and more, but sometimes, especially when those in charge are paying attention and doing what they can to respect the source material, a reboot can actually turn out to be quite masterful. It’s not necessarily something that people would remember as well, but it does sound like a worthwhile project.
The number of fighting movies out there is so great that a lot of them have gone straight to video over the years, which is kind of a shame in some cases since there are some titles among the masses that are well done and capture the feeling that’s being filmed perfectly. The Champ is one of many movies that a lot of people might not remember as well, but it does feel like one that could be brought back and, if given the proper respect, could be a great story to tell in a different light. Updating it would likely be the best idea since trying to keep it back in the same time period might not make it stand out as much. But then again, nostalgia being what it is, there might be a chance that people would watch, even if the MMA idea would be off the table.
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