42 ★★

I'm a sucker for Baseball films. Good or bad I'll normally watch them regardless of the quality or the story. Although there are many types of Baseball films from comedies like Major League or Bull Durham, the ones that interest me the most are those steeped in the history of the sport, the true stories of pioneering greats or infamous cheats.
Eight Men Out was a wonderful introduction for me to real life stories of a game I first found in my late teens. Being Scottish, I had to record the late night games that went on till 4 or 5 am and then catch up with them when I could. It didn't take long for me though to pick my team and learn everything I could about this sport that most of my fellow countrymen knew nothing about. As a big reader, I had been given a copy of Stealing Home years ago so I knew from memory a little about Jackie Robinson before I watched this film.
Jackie Robinson had true courage and is rightly regarded as an inspiration to everyone who's ever played Baseball. That said, for a man who changed the sport for ever, this film doesn't quite do the great man justice. Chadwick Boseman who plays the young Jackie in this biopic lacks any real charisma as the pioneering ballplayer, and it's left to the supporting players to bring the film and the controversial story-line up to anything more than a made-for-tv movie. As the first African-American Baseball player to break the major league color barrier back in 1947, Robinson had to endure endless persecution from fellow players and an inherent racism from a society that were stuck in the dark ages. His talent and his character shone through and he led the way for other players to follow, but the part played in this story by Branch Rickey (played here by Harrison Ford) in bringing Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers cannot be overlooked. A visionary, who wanted to change things, he too should also be remembered for breaking down that disgustingly backward disgrace of a rule.
I'm sorry for Robinson's legacy that this wasn't a better film. Ford aside, only Lucas Black made any real impression and this did feel a little pedestrian at times. Brian Helgeland is a great writer, but this was just a touch dull even for a big-time Baseball fan like me.