Life Of A King (Blu-ray Review)

Life-Of-A-KingMillennium films brings you Life Of A King, the true story of Eugene Brown.  A man who opened up a chess club to help troubled inner-city youths in the Washington DC area.  The film boasts a cast with Cuba Gooding Jr, LisaGay Hamilton and President David Palmer himself, Dennis Haysbert.  There are also some young actors that put in some good turns and maybe we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.  Its directed by Jake Goldberg.  The only other film he directed is a film called Don McKay.  Funny as it is, that film is also about a janitor.  It’s a small film that debuted at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year.  The film features a man’s ability to connect to these kids using chess to open their minds and help them to become better kids, stay off the streets and plan for a better future.

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Eugene Brown is released from prison after almost spending two decades behind bars.  He was put behind bars taking the fall for a bank robbery.  Eugene is lost upon his daughter and he discovers his son is in juvenile detention and wants nothing to do with him.  Struggling to find a job due to his status as an ex-con, he takes a job as a janitor at the local high school his children attended.  By chance one day, he has to cover a detention class as the teacher had been run out.  When he shows a control and command of the children he is brought on to do it full time.  Eugene then begins to teach the troubled children chess as a way to get them to use their minds and start to focus on keeping their lives in check despite their background.

Life Of A King as it turns out, is a true story.  But, it also happens to be your stereotypical “teacher takes on an unruly class of troubled inner city youths and ends up commanding their attention and turning their lives around through a key method” movie.  From old plays like “Up The Down Staircase” to notable films like Dangerous Minds, these films are a brand on themselves.  Life Of A King is no different from most of these.  If you made a checklist of things that occur in all of these movies, Life Of A King would probably fill out the entire list.  Within 10 minutes of the film, the movie played out exactly as I expected it to.  In that regard, it sounds like it could have been quite a boring situation I was in.

When it’s following a outline, such as this movie does, its more about how unique and how well executed the film does it.  And this one did a pretty solid job.  I was really enjoying the characters and their development.  I also think the film presented all the characters’ challenges in life pretty well.  None of this is groundbreaking or stepping out the mold kind of things, but it was done in an enjoyable fashion.  Cuba Gooding Jr also gives a great performance and one of the best I’ve seen him in a good many years (granted I don’t see him prominently in many films anymore).

Life Of A King isn’t too bad of a time.  It’s a film that will have you go “oh one of these” at first and then sucker you in, winning you over by the time the film ends.  It’s got some good dramatic moments and characters I could really get behind.  If you’re flipping by or something, give it a shot.

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Chess boards come in a nice 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding.  Detail is very high.  You can make out every defect in the chess house, as well as cracks on leather jackets and facial textures.  Colors are strong and the film gives a kind of cold feel that resonates well in this display.  All the hair, no matter how dark, is very detailed and discernable.  At moments the image is kind of soft, but loses a little bit of sharpness and gives a slight ghosting effect when characters movie.  This problem is very minimal, but occurred a couple times throughout the film.

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The incredibly intense, grinding action of chess pumps into your speakers in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track.  Not that the film calls for an incredible audio experience, but it is a very lackluster performance.  Everything is pretty much front heavy, though there is really no demand for extreme surround.  The dialogue is kind of muffled, low and at times blends into the score, which is pretty loud when it is present.  Effects and foley sounds are audible and clear but not very rich in flavor.  It’s a very average track, but luckily this is a little drama we’re watching here and not an action film.

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There are no extras aside from a couple trailers for other Millennium movies on the disc.

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I think Life Of A King is a good movie, but its not THAT good of a movie that Millennium can just pump out with the bare minimum of a release.  It’s got a solid presentation, but there’s nothing in the way of extras.  So its just the movie.  And the movie is something you should just catch OnDemand, Netflix or on TV if you’re passing by.  If you really like this movie and you wind up finding this release for $5 or under, then it’s a good grab.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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