“Think Before You Move.” It’s a moto that fits in sports and in life. And it’s the mantra and mainstay of the film “Life of a King” staring Cuba Gooding, Jr. It’s a must see. Cuba puts in a solid and stirring performance in this rag to spiritual riches story which should incite and inflame, motivate and stimulate all of us to try and “change our world.” The moral of the story is, despite missteps and mistakes, we all should at least try. And in trying to make a difference, you must make the right moves.
Based on a true story, Cuba Gooding, Jr. stars as Eugene Brown, an ex-con who establishes a chess club in Washington, D.C. as a way to reach out to inner city youth and help them make better life choices. That’s the basic premise of Life of a King. And what sounds like a bore fest on paper turns out to be a deeply challenging movie that takes a hard look at a world far too many children find themselves growing up and living in.
Gangs, drugs, prostitution, and violence are what many of these kids see and experience on a daily basis, a world seemingly void of hope, where dignity, respect and honor are nothing more than grand ideas. And it’s in this world where ex-con Eugene Brown begins his outreach to the inner city kids to teach them that they need to think before they move by way of the game of chess.
Life of a King is a captivating, powerful, and stunning independent film, and joins such movies as Freedom Writers, Dangerous Minds, and Lean on Me as one of the best ‘mentor does everything they can to help kids from the city’ type movies.
As usual, Cuba Gooding Jr. (Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Selma, Red Tails) is superb, playing Eugene Brown with passion and conviction. Likewise, Malcolm M. Mays, Carlton Byrd, and Kevin Hendricks are excellent as three high school friends who come into Eugene’s life around the time he starts the chess club.
Life of a King is powerful, hope filled, and inspiring. It’s not really a ‘Christian’ movie (one man mentions The Bible), but it does show how one man can truly make a difference in the lives of many. And there are enough unexpected twists and turns to turn this telling from a tiny, trite tryst to a tall and triumphant tale.
Borrowed from Christian St. John, www.Christianreview.com