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Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Alan Tudyk, Christopher Meloni, Lucas Black, John C McGinley, Matt Clark

Director: Brian Helgeland

Has Hollywood ever made two biopics about the same man - 63 years apart? Well, it has now. Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball great, starred in a version of his own story as long ago as 1950 (Ruby Dee played his wife). This new film is more expansive and focuses rather more pointedly on the inevitable racial discrimination that accompanied Jackie's elevation to the major leagues - but is otherwise hardly less anodyne than the original.

Boseman and Beharie are fine as Jackie and his wife in so far as their two-dimensional characters will allow, while Ford as the Brooklyn Dodgers' enlightened manager does seem to chew the scenery early on, but grows into his role as the film progresses.

All the easy emotional scenes are paraded to make us get a lump in the throat - but sadly with little effect, and they now seem forced in the context of the era; while baseball as a sport remains almost as impenetrable to the English viewer as American football.

In the supporting cast, Tudyk catches the eye (as he so often does) as the opposing manager who tries to 'sledge' Jackie out of the game, and there's a rare latter-day role for veteran character actor Clark. It's worthy but dull: we never really get to know Jackie as a person.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
124 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 07 Sep 2013