Movie: Movies about celebrities are fairly common these days. Movies about sports celebrities are a bit less common, although they seem to make the news on a daily basis. Let's face it, a lot of them come from modest means and if they hit it big with a lucrative contract paying them millions of dollars, everyone wants a piece of them. Such is the case with a little exploitive documentary on a recent rape case, Kobe: The Shocking True Story: Volume 1.
The basic case centers on a sexual encounter between a young White woman and the sports hero Kobe Bryant (who happens to be a guard on the L.A. Lakers, and is Black in color). In 2003, the talented athlete had the liaison while recuperating in Colorado and depending on whose side you believe, he either had consensual anal sex with her or he took advantage of her when she was high, leading to the sexual assault charge. As the matter progresses through the courts, Kobe's attorney's have done a whole lot to attack the women, something that has led to death threats against her, and tried to portray her as a manipulative women out to cash in on a young man's weakness (or, conversely, a mental case needing treatment). The prosecution has painted him as an out of control athlete who can do as he pleases since he has so much wealth and fame. Ultimately, like all rape cases, there are only two people that really know what happened and their stories are completely different on the consent issue. Further clouding the story s the fact that Kobe is married and any guy who gets caught cheating on a spouse is automatically looked down upon, regardless of the circumstance. Also clouding the truth is the way rape-shielding laws have kept the facts out of the general public's reach, something they are supposed to do in order to protect rape victims everywhere.
The movie was done in documentary style, claiming to have rare interviews, and was about as credible as a story you'd read in the national tabloid newspapers. It started out with a simulated interview with Kobe Bryant, as played by Julian St. John, who gives his account of events. His bodyguard is portrayed by the director/writer himself, Todd Fligner, a man that seems like he has his own agenda in the matter but is never exactly defined all that well in the movie. The woman's story is markedly different and centered on the awe factor of a big name athlete staying at a local hotel. Her role was played by Chandler Stacy, someone I've never heard of before. She played the part of a trailer trash defendant that seemed flighty in her interview.
The DVD case itself said this: "Forget what you've been told by the media and find out what no one wants to talk about…the truth behind the Kobe Bryant assault case.
What happened at the Cordeillera Lodge and Spa took place long before Kobe ever checked in. Watch the setup, the take down and the behind the scenes players who pull the strings and run the other side of sports.
Todd Fligner's film exposes those involved and at times crosses the line to tell the truth. Hear the never before disclosed interview with Chief Joe Hoy before the gag order. Discover the ramifications these allegations will have on Kobe's Career. After hearing the facts and the accuser's side of the story, make up your own mind about what really happened."
Since the case itself is under a gag order, very little information is available to the public that can be confirmed at this time. Sadly, the legal issues revolving around privacy laws and abusive tactics by scum-sucking attorneys appears to have been lost in the shuffle here. As a guy, I know that the claim of rape alone is enough to destroy someone since even if you're completely innocent, the stigma of "he got away with it" will always be there. As someone with friends who have gone through a rape, I also understand that shielding laws are important if we want to protect victims from further harm caused by the system, usually referred to as victimizing the complainant twice. None of that mattered here which is why I'm rating it as a Skip It. Without an intelligent discussion of what is available, along with no actual sex, the show is just pure speculation witout any sources quoted or listed (other than the bit on the box cover).
Picture: The picture was presented in non-anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture was grainy in most cases with a bunch of mosquito noise in the lower lighting situations. The movie was shot in both color and Black & White, depending on what type of segment it was. The sex footage was non-explicit with some breasts bouncing in slow motion and side shots of the couple simulating sex.
Sound: The audio was kind of weak with limited dynamic range and very little separation between the channels of the 2.0 stereo English track. The sound effects were barely noticeable and the music score basic in nature. It appeared to be made on a shoestring budget with none of the frills a real movie would have.
Extras: There was the trailer to the movie itself but nothing more. It might've been a good idea to include clipping of the news articles, some sports highlights of Kobe's career, some background to where this all took place or a dozen other things that are freely available but the intent of this one seems to have been to get it on the market quickly.
Final Thoughts: If you like yellow journalism that could impact the life of a young athlete in his prime or a young woman trying to stand up to her attacker (I'm not taking sides), you'll love this one but it's so limited in scope that even a high school newspaper writer could've done a better job. Mr. Bryant is innocent unless proven guilty, just as his accuser is not on trial so docu-dramas like this will only serve to fuel the media frenzy harming the process itself. If he did the crime, he should do the time but it's unfair to release movies like this that muddy up the water. Perhaps a second volume will be released that actually discusses some of the issues involved here without relying on sensationalistic propaganda. Oh, and don't fuss at me for not including the woman's real name here, I happen to believe in protecting sexual assault victims from idiots who confuse liberty with license.