Plot: What’s it about?
The town of Richmond is buried in trouble with their youths, as half the students quit school, teen pregnancies are rampant, and drugs and violence are commonplace. The school’s basketball program is one of few outlets for the local young men to take refuge from the turmoil in their lives. When Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) steps up to take over the program, he plans to not only improve the team’s skills on the court, but to make their lives better off it as well. He helps his players to become better players, but also better students and even better men. In 1999 however, his players struggled in their classes and failed their academic work, which Carter responded to by shutting down the season. To that point, the team was undefeated, but Carter shut it down to try to have them focus on more important tasks. As the city cries foul and some seek to have Carter fired, will the coach’s unusual methods be proven a success or a failure?
This is a premise we’ve seen time and time again, a group of unmotivated kids get a mentor who motivates them and they achieve more than they ever thought possible. Coach Carter is somewhat based on real life events, but even with dramatic liberties, this fails to inspire or uplift. I have just seen this concept done so often, I need more than the usual cliches to enjoy the premise and Coach Carter is cliche after cliche. Samuel Jackson gives his typical performance, while the supporting cast is decent, but provides no stand out efforts. While the real life events might have been an inspiration, this filmed version fails to capture that essence. If you’ve never viewed a movie of this kind before, Coach Carter might not be a bad one. But with countless movies that do this same premise so much better, you can leave Coach Carter on the bench.
Video: How does it look?
Coach Carter is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid treatment that improves on the DVD, but never hits the kind of depth we’ve seen in the best Blu-ray releases. This movie doesn’t have a dynamic visual design however, so this transfer covers all the bases. The print looks great, with a natural level of grain and no artifacts I could detect. Overall detail is strong, but as I said, doesn’t pop like we’ve seen before. The colors remain natural in scope, but still accurate and contrast is stark and smooth. A very solid looking visual effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
This isn’t a stand out soundtrack, but this Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option handles the needs of the material well. The bulk of the audio is dialogue and other low key elements, so there isn’t a wealth of power here. The surrounds open up at times, but remain rather reserved, as per the material. But dialogue sounds clear and never falters, while the music is well handled and general ambience is acceptable. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes several promotional featurettes, a music video, some deleted scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.