The Last Champion stars Cole Hauser from Yellowstone as John Wright, a former championship wrestler and promising Olympian. Upon his mother's death, he returns home to face the hometown he left in disgrace twenty years earlier.
This film will be screening exclusively on new streaming platform WONDER from 25 November 2021. Find out more here. It also stars Sean H Scully as Michael Miller, Wright's protégé and Hallie Todd as Melinda Miller his mother. Peter Onorati is Frank Stevens the Coach, Bob McCracken as Pastor Barnes, Randall Batinkoff as Bobby Baker, Casey Moss as Scott Baker his son, and Annika Marks as Elizabeth Barnes.
John Wright has lost it all and he has remained lost from the time he was stripped of his gold medal for performance-enhancing drug use. He returns to his hometown 20 years later, upon the death of his mother, to get the farm back in shape for sale before the local bank forecloses on it. He however needs to get back into emotional shape himself to face his mistakes and forgive himself.
Then there's young Michael Miller, a wrestler with a lot of potential, who doesn't get a lot of support and is not living his best life in his family situation. He has two younger sisters and an alcoholic mother with issues of her own that impacts the whole family. Between coach and protégé where one person is broken, the other at breaking point - can they make a difference in each other's lives?
The Last Champion takes the time to develop its characters, and as a result, the performances hit you where it counts. It doesn't move at a fast pace, but you're so engrossed in the story and the characters, it keeps it at an interesting level, and has you involved and concerned about the outcome for all. A family-friendly film, it has all the elements of being a story of redemption, forgiveness, a coming of age element, and cohesiveness of community. There are no singular heroes here. It instead gives you beings that are wrestling with their emotions, and fighting their way back to the top.
It draws on all the emotions as you walk the line with the characters, some very loveable for their kindness; don't be surprised if it elicits a few teardrops or more falling on your cheeks. It doesn't begin with a Bang, nor does it end with one, but it does leave you wanting more for closure, or the desire for the story to go on a little bit longer because you're invested. Well-directed by Glenn Withrow, every single one of his characters are multi-layered, adding flavour to the film. A faith-based film, but there's nothing preachy about it. Instead, it shows you humans with flaws, not necessarily behaving the way you'd expect, and it allows you to contend with your own emotions and come to your own conclusions about how you feel about the characters.