You’ll feel like you have seen Undefeated before, even if you haven’t. Newly released on Blu-ray, the 2011 Academy Award-winner for Best Documentary Feature follows a downtrodden Memphis high school football team, the Manassas Lions, in a seemingly impossible quest to turn years of devastating losses into a surprisingly winning season. Their struggle to do so requires a lot of hard work both on the field and off, instigated by the words and actions of inspiring volunteer coach Bill Courtney.
Filmmakers Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin utilize music, title cards and visuals to perfectly accentuate the natural arc of the story and bring out the most moving moments. It helps that Courtney is a wonderful protagonist who truly cares about the students on his team; watching him coach these kids both at football and at life will bring a smile to your face and possibly even a tear to your eye.
Now, Undefeated doesn’t really provide anything new as far as inspirational underdog sports stories go; it is, in various moments, very reminiscent of Friday Night Lights and Remember the Titans, but in documentary form. Nonetheless, in a world where bogus "reality” television shows about hapless and hateful people outnumber any great true-life stories, Undefeated manages to be refreshing. It shows how well real-life drama can compete with fiction on the big screen when it is a story worth telling.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
Undefeated on Blu-ray includes feature commentary from the film’s co-directors, as well as deleted scenes, a trailer and a making-of featurette.
"Undefeated" is on sale February 19, 2013 and is rated PG13. Documentary. Directed by Dan Lindsay, Tj Martin. Starring Bill Courtney, Chavis Daniels, Montrail Money Brown, Oc Brown.