Directed by Gary Fleder
Starring Dennis Quaid, Rob Brown, Charles S. Dutton
Universal Home Entertainment
Release date: January 20, 2009
The Express, now out on Blu ray DVD, is an emotional sports movie in the vein of Miracle and Brian’s Song. The film, based on the book by Robert Gallagher, tells the story of Ernie Davis, the first ever black football player to win the Heisman Trophy. Chronicling his life from his humble beginnings growing up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to his amazing college football career at Syracuse University, Ernie seemed destined to follow the footsteps of his mentor, football great Jim Brown but life had another game plan. In the very same year that he was drafted into the NFL, Davis died of Leukemia at the young age of 23.
Written by Charles Leavitt, the movie gets your adrenaline pumping but also tugs at your heart strings. The football scenes are pretty dynamic and are very entertaining to watch. Under the direction of Gary Fleder, the football scenes were fast paced, packed a punch, and were not overtly stylized like a lot of the newer sports movies. You feel every tackle and every touchdown. While the football scenes were fun, it was the quieter moments of the film that drew me in. Rob Brown plays Ernie Davis with a quiet confidence that many felt was the calling card of Davis. Brown is far from perfect as the lead but he shows real promise as a future leading man. He more than holds his own when sharing the screen with Dennis Quaid, who puts on a great performance as Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder. Both actors play off the father-son dynamic rather well.
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