The good news for John Cena fans is that his acting skills have drastically improved and that while he was limited in what he did in this movie he did make his dramatic scenes count. In The Marine, his acting skills were ridiculously overshadowed by those of Robert Patrick. In 12 Rounds, I said felt that he could hold his own with the actors. In this movie, he was believable in his role and helped make some of the scenes better. While he still has a long way to go before becoming the next Dwayne Johnson, at least he is showing some significant improvement.
As far as the rest of the cast goes, Patricia Clarkson is a great actress that always delivers. Devon Graye did a commendable job for his first lead in a major film. The only disappointment I had as far as the acting goes is that Danny Glover was criminally underutilized in this film. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that his character's part and role in the film were totally determined by his schedule.
The plot takes a bit from quite a few sports movies and tries to combine all those sports cliches into a new film. However, the movie comes across as a Frankenstein containing parts of Rudy, Vision Quest, and The Karate Kid. Whereas those movies are legendary in the sports film genre, I can't see this film living up to that lofty goal the title of it suggests it wants to be.
Overall, this movie comes across as something made for the Hallmark Channel instead of theaters. That is probably one of the reasons why it is running as a limited engagement. Since it is not playing everywhere, I wouldn't recommend going out of my way to get to a theater if it isn't playing near you. If it is playing near you then it wouldn't be a bad choice to take the family to. Please note before taking your family to the movie that the film is rated PG-13 for suggestive materials, brief partial nudity, and some fighting scenes.
I give this a solid thumb's in the middle. If you do spend your money to see it in the theaters I think you might be pleasantly surprised like I was. However, if you miss this in the theaters you really aren't missing too much. I would however make it a point to check out this movie once it becomes available on DVD or cable TV.