Wrongfully accused and sent to prison, a former basketball star prepares for the national slam dunk competition while finding redemption in himself and in those he loves.
Combining its inspirational and sports-movie tropes in hackneyed, unoriginal fashion, Timothy A. Chey’s Slamma Jamma seems to be anticipating its own bad reviews. One of the film’s minor characters is an obnoxious “sports critic” who gets a tongue-lashing from an observer who questions his credentials for commenting about basketball even though he’s never played the game himself. Well, most people have never made a movie but they know a bad one when they see one, and this is it.
Not that this effort isn’t earnest and well-meaning. Telling the story of a former college basketball star who tries to rebuild his life after spending six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, the film hits its emotional points in a blunt, heavy-handed fashion that may resonate with some viewers. And for basketball fans, it offers the cinematic equivalent of terrific pick-up games often found on urban courts.
Chris Staples — a five-time world slam dunk champion and former Harlem Globetrotter making his acting debut — plays the lead role of Michael Diggs, newly released from prison after having unwittingly gotten involved in an armed robbery that resulted in a fatality. Having found religion while incarcerated, Michael returns to his former home, only to find his loving mother deeply in debt and his younger brother embarked on a life of crime.