The Hurricane

Director:Norman Jewison
Writers:Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon
Universal Pictures; R; 120 minutes
Cast:Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Vicellous Shannon

A standout performance from Denzel Washington provides The Hurricane's cool, morally steadfast core, but a shlocky script sends melodrama in a furious circling whirl without real direction. Real-life boxer Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter was unjustly convicted of murder and imprisoned for decades, and this is his story.

Carter's (Washington) best interactions are with a young fan (Vicellous Shannon) from Brooklyn whose visits to the imprisoned man change both of their lives. The fight sequences, filmed in black-and-white, are raw and energetic, but the legalistic grappling that occupies the movie's end grow sluggish. Epic, manipulative, and generally entertaining.