Samuel l. Jackson: could have been a contender

This is an arnusingly unsubtle boxing comedy from black director Reginald Hudlin. More facetious than satirical. it's driven along as much by character as by its somewhat Rocky narrative.

The Revd Samuel L. Jackson. aka The Turban. is an ostentatious Las Vegas fight promoter whose pay-per-view income takes a dive during the latest no- contest for his world heavyweight champ. 'Grim Reaper‘ Roper (Damon Wayans). What he needs is some hype a white contender (ha! ha!) and some racism in the proceedings. Enter Cleveland grunger Terry Conklin (Peter Berg. the patsy from The Last Seduction) a rank amateur who knocked out Roper when they were kids. Billed as 'lrish' Terry. he accepts the deal so he can eradicate homelessness and poverty ‘in America. as well as the United States‘.

As the Reverend ducks kosher black contender Marvin Shabazz (Michael lace). and crusading TV journo Mitchell Kane (Jeff Goldblum), Conklin looks more credible. and Roper goes into heavy (latex-bellied) decline. This is a good feint. enabling The Great White Hype to really take the mickey out of the hype and the whiteness in and out ofthe ring.

Some scenes and characters are a bit stale, but it has some great jabs. not least from ‘Johnny' Rhys-Davies as Conklin's bellicose English trainer.

Hudlin fixes all contests from the start. magnifying a gritty. Peckinpah-style death bout between two scorpions in the Nevada desert - only for the victor to be flattened by a passing car. Superiority is a laughably deluded state of mind for any creed. (Gio MacDonald)

The Great White Hype

( [5) (Reginald Hudlin. US. 1996) Samuel L. Jackson, Damon Wayans, Jefl Goldblum. 90 mins. From Fri 20. General release.

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Just as ilarold Bamis’s Goundhog Day stretched comic credulity far enough to make the laughs snap where most Hollywood comedies simply thud, his latest comedy has a sharp edge to its humour. Michael Keaton stars as Doug Kinney, a modern man committed to wife and family, yet struggling to balance domestic demands with those of a thriving business. Conferring with a client at a ground-breaking scientific institute, he discovers a solution - cloning.

At first, Doug finds his wildest dreams coming true, but he quickly discovers the price. Finding his clone more aggressively macho than him, he takes time to spoil his original self, but his efforts on the home front disappoint.

So he decides on another clone, this one well suited to the domesticity for which he has been created. Yet the subtle variations between the three

Dougs - and the need for two of them to be kept hidden at any one time - make for a life even more complicated than the one Doug sought to improve.

It also offers plenty of opportunities for farcical set pieces, the best of which is set in a restaurant, where Doug is wining and dining his increasingly perplexed wife Laura (Andie MacDowell), only to bump into Doug Number Two on a date with the firm’s secretary.

Complication follows complication, and Multiplicity carries the seeds of a cautionary tale without being too straight-faced about it: the point is made through comedy that arises from the situation.

It may be less anarchic - and side- splitting - than Groundhog Day, but as a high-concept comedy it works well enough. Above all, it marks a triumphant return for Keaton to his comedic roots, and his remarkable performance(s) remain the best reason to see this amiable film. (Anwar Brett) Multiplicity ( 12) (Harold Ramis, US, 1996) Michael Keaton, Andie McDowell, Harris Yulin. 110 mins. From Fri 27. General release:


. Having won the Academy Award for

; Best Foreign Film this year. Antonia is Line gets a much deserved release. its belated opening in the UK might have

, been spurred on by the Oscar. but the

film remains a powerful testament to the individual voice of writer-director

5 Marleen Gorris. whose next project is

i Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dal/owin with

' Vanessa Redgrave in the starring role.

Antonia 's Line is a family saga of five

I generations of women, the action

centring on a Netherlands rural

; community peopled by an assortment

' of uniformly eccentric characters. Opening with Antonia’s recollections

ofthe end of World War H and closing

with her optimistic meditations on the

i unending cycle of life. the film‘s

circular structure is reinforced by the co-narration of Antonia and her great- granddaughter.

The generations drama suffers a little from its fragmented. incident-driven. tragi-comic plotting - a necessary but nevertheless cliched strategy for telling such an involved tale. Yet the story. taking in Latin American-style magic realist elements. is uplifting in its engagement with the sexual politics Gom's has explored in previous films. It‘s ironic that a film celebrating women's triumph over a patriarchal environment should be the first and only to garner a female director an Oscar. (Miles Fielder)

Antonia 's Line ( l5) (Marleen Gorris. Netherlands/Helm urn/U K. I 995) Willeke ran Ammelrooy. Els Dottermans. Dora van der Ot'erloop.

I 04 ntins. Subtitles. From Fri 27. Glasgow: GI'T Edinburgh: F ilmhouse.

Antonia’s line: ‘lncldent-drlven, tragi-comic plotting'

DeadPresldentsz‘trlestebemanythlngs butnonewlthmuch pnrpeee’

DEAD msmeurs

Despite being a brave look at the life of a black marine before, during and after his time in Vietnmn, Dead Presidents is as messy a film as you can get. Apocalypse [law may have sprawled its way through the jungle, but always with some destination in mind. Dead Presidents tries to be many things but none with much


The film begins in Brooklyn where our man Anthony is growing up and rebelling against the aspirational values of his parents. This section of the film is the most assured and least pretentious. The world portrayed is a familiar tragi-comic one of adolescent drug-taking, first sex and so on set to a groovy 70s sound track, and it's shot in imitation of Mean Streets.

then Anthony arrives in Vietnam and we are in a drastically different picture. At once the smallish budget is

apparent, as the directors seek to impress us with gory special effects which would be more at home in an old B-movie. As the actors seek to define their characters’ individual responses to the trauma of war, the assorted psycho commanders and wounded buddies that have been well explored in other Vietnam films, come to mind, and this one looks hopelessly derivative.

Back in Brooklyn, Anthony discovers he has been permanently altered by his llam experience. But instead of concentrating on the painful mental breakdown, the film takes a wildly disjunctive turn towards the black power struggle and then culminates in a heist. It really is very hard to keep up, and what the robbery has to do with either black power or Vietnam ls never explained. (llannah Fries)

Dead Presidents (18) (Albert and Allen Iluglres, (IS, 1995) larenz Tate, Keith David, can: Iirclrer. 120 mlns. From Fri 27. Edinburgh: 00!. Strathclyde: 00! Clydebavk.

a The List 20 Sept-3 Oct I996