Ernie Davis was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy and the drama, The Express tells his true life story from beginning to end. In 1959, the talented and famous Jim Brown (Darrin Dewitt Henson) graduated from Syracuse University and football coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid) needed someone to take his place. The best running back coming out of high school in 1959 was Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) and Coach Schwartzwalder talks him into playing for Syracuse. In 1960, Davis helps Syracuse win the National Championship for the first time and he was chosen as the MVP for the Cotton Bowl. Because the game took place in the Deep South, Davis was told he could receive the trophy but he couldn’t attend the banquet. Davis had dealt with several racial issues, yet in 1961 he won the Heisman Trophy. Unfortunately, after graduation, tragedy strikes and he never plays the first day of professional football. Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown hold this film together with solid performances. The sports were fun to watch (if you can see) like most sports films but the entire movie was formulaic. First, you have the big game action scenes where he runs around and isn’t touched. Next, he breaks all racial barriers without breaking a sweat and then goes on to win the big game. (He doesn’t break a sweat during the big game either.) My wife’s ninth grade class could have written this script – especially since it was a true story. Every character was a cliché and the ending which could have set this film apart was anticlimactic. (At least they won the big game.) I enjoyed the history lesson and wasn’t bored so I will give this film a C rating.
Although I am blind, I can appreciate a good movie as well as sighted individuals.
I rely more on a good story line than special effects.