Oscar winner Forest Whitaker’s fine performance is the main reason to see ‘Hurricane Season’, shot in 2009 but delayed for several years by the Weinstein Company. The film was originally intended to be a theatrical premiere but due to the producers bankruptcy it received a quiet straight to dvd premiere. While technically proficient in all aspects the movie feels like it has been recut for maximum appeal to it’s obvious demographic. The film chronicles the trials that face Al Collins (Whitaker), a high school basketball coach in Marrero, Louisiana. A year after Hurricane Katrina’s decimation of New Orleans, Collins sets out to assemble a team of players from five surrounding schools, all of which had been destroyed in the disaster. Collin’s quest to lead them on the path to the state championships even if it means neglecting his family; a point the film glazes over nonchalantly.
The tag-line boldly proclaims ‘They Turned a Tragedy Into a Triumph’, which may be true of the team that inspired the story but the filmmakers have turned the film into a moderately entertaining sports drama that manages to hit all the expected cliches on the way to its utterly predictable conclusion. Sports films are tricky; one based on an actual event and true story is even more difficult to do right. Director Tim Story’s lethargic direction isn’t able to mount much interest after the initial admittedly suspenseful opening sequence involving Hurricane Katrina’s touch down in New Orleans during the summer of 2005.
As I stated Whitaker’s portrayal of the determined coach is the reason this film has any merit, sturdy character actors Isaiah Washington and Courtney B. Vance elevate the overly melodrama script into moments that resemble authentic human interactions. Each of the three leads survive unscathed yet it saddens one to realize the producers assembled this much talent only to waste it on a lame script that seems as if it were a first draft. The film isn’t necessarily bad it’s just disappointing.
Director: Tim Story
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Isaiah Washington, Bow Wow
Buy It On Amazon