A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Champion is a sports drama centered on a high-school wrestling team. There’s an overt religious message about asking God for forgiveness, but other religious content is mild, like church and community activities or praying to the sky, and doesn’t present any specific messages. The only violence is a vicious beating that shows punching, kicking, and a very bloody face afterward. Teens humiliate a classmate because of food insecurity. Sadness from loss is briefly touched on. There are some romantic dynamics and an adult couple kisses once. Two characters drink alcohol heavily. One drinks all the time, the other stops drinking after a serious binge. Past illegal steroid use is an important theme, but no use is shown. One character smokes frequently. “Ass” is used once or twice, and the ethnic slur “gyp” is used once.
What's the story?
THE LAST CHAMPION is John Wright (Cole Hauser), a disgraced Olympic wrestler. Now that his mother has passed away, John has to go back to the hometown he’s avoided for many years to settle her affairs. He’s asked to take over coaching the high-school wrestling team, but after a cowardly failure to act, John’s not sure he’s fit to be anybody’s coach, mentor, or role model. The most promising wrestler on the team is Michael (Sean H. Scully), who’s thinking about dropping out of school to support himself and his sisters. Can John find a way to help Michael, win back the townsfolk’s respect, and take the team to the championship match?
Is it any good?
This quiet, low-key sports drama is a cut above most faith-based movies, but suffers from a split personality. The first hour plays like a character study of a disgraced Olympic athlete, and the second hour plays like a fairly typical high-school sports movie. The outcome of both storylines is pretty predictable, but there is genuine suspense and uncertainty during the championship match sequences.
The emotional tone stays pretty even throughout, contributing to the sense that nothing’s explored in any very deep or meaningful way. Teens will especially enjoy the second half, with the charismatic cast of young actors coming to the forefront. A beating with bloody injuries shown and mature themes make it best for teens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about excessive alcohol use in The Last Champion. Is it realistic? What are the consequences?
Why is forgiveness important, whether personal, divine, or both? Do you think John should have told Michael what he saw and did, or was he right to keep quiet? Why?
Movies about sports are always popular. What do we love about them? What can we learn from them? What are some of your favorites?
- On DVD or streaming: December 8, 2020
- Cast: Cole Hauser, Sean H. Scully, Annika Marks
- Director: Glenn Withrow
- Studio: In House Media Film Partners
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some thematic elements and a brief scene of violence
- Last updated: December 15, 2020
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