HOLLYWOOD—I was not a fan of the 1996 film “Space Jam” starring basketball legend Michael Jordan. I was a kid back then when the movie was released and it was silly. However, that film was much more animated in my opinion then this sequel, “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” I guess I can’t really call it a sequel, but an evolution of the original. However, if you’re thinking Michael Jordan makes an appearance in this flick, you’ll be disappointed because he doesn’t.
This movie is all about LeBron James and when I say that I mean it from start to finish. The current NBA titan is in the driver seat of this animated live-action picture that is about family, pursuit of dreams and basketball. Here is the major problem with “Space Jam: A New Legacy:” it is boring for about the first 75 minutes of the film. It is beyond slow; it is so slow I felt the need to find something to keep me wanting to watch what was transpiring beyond the bad acting.
The first act and most of the second act has little to no story direction. LeBron is playing himself and it could be no more obvious than the acting job he delivers here. It is bad, LeBron James is not a skilled actor and that is not a direct jab at the athlete it is just a fact. The acting he gives here is stale, one-note and cringe-worthy at times. The director in me wanted to say oh, there is no way we can go to print with that, we have to do another take, because it is so bad the audience is going to see it from a million miles away. You cannot hide how bad of a scene was just performed.
James portrays the titan athlete he is in the real world, pushing basketball on his sons, older and younger, particularly his youngest son Dom (Cedric Joe) who has dreams of developing video games and even hides that from his father for about the first half of the flick until his father discovers during a meeting with some major studio execs. This ushers in the one shining point of the movie, its villain AI-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle). It’s a fun role for Cheadle who really immerses himself in the villainous role and his acting talents are showcased in the movie with a bright point.
I did not find myself immersed into the film until the Looney Tunes characters (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird, Lola Bunny, Granny, Speedy Gonzales) and a host of other iconic characters that I grew up with make their presence known in the movie. Those characters actually deliver some laughs and iconic moments that gave me a chuckle compared to the human interaction. As for cameos there weren’t any that blew my socks off and the one that seems like a surprise, you can peg it as soon as it becomes obvious it’s not who you think it is.
LeBron is tasked with playing the basketball game of his life to save his son, his family and a host of others who have been drawn into this orbit, the internet. The antics are over the top, kids might find chuckles here and there, but as adults they are few and in between. This movie has a theme about the importance of family, children and allowing them to chase their own dreams and the parent not attempting to force what they want their kids to do down their throats without listening. I was hoping “Space Jam: A New Legacy” would be an entertaining ride for the entire family, but sorry this is just not that film people.