Plot: Rich Porter (Steven Brewis) was on the fast track to success, the kind of life most people can only dream of. He was a top prospect to play professional football and had the talent to become one of the greats, but before he had a chance to prove it on the field, fate intervened. A tragic mudslide in a remote area of the Philippines claimed numerous lives and even more people were reported missing, one which was Rich’s mother, who was a volunteer in the locale. Driven by intense grief, Rich bypasses his football career to help with the desperate search, with no results. He is able to play for a local Philippines squad however, though his downbeat attitude and arrogance often get the best of him, leading to a poor reputation. So when his girlfriend fakes a domestic violence situation in order to sell a scandal about the troubled Rich, it doesn’t take much to convince people he might be guilty of the crime. Meanwhile, he also faces the biggest struggle of his life when he is diagnosed with cancer and the outlook is bleak. Can Rich find a path in life to inner peace or will he continue down the road of self destruction?
Entertainment Value: This is a faith based movie that has loose ties to a sports slant, but 100 Yards is more of a drama with character study elements. So if you’re drawn to the movie because of the sports angle, you get a good look into the mind and life of an athlete, but not much on field action is featured. The tone is serious and can be a little tense at times, as the narrative touches on loss, terminal illness, domestic violence, and other issues of social relevance, while Rich’s internal struggles are also a large part of what drives 100 Yards. There is an obvious thread of faith woven throughout the film, but this one is less on the nose and preachy than most, as it doesn’t hammer home religion nonstop. A strong theme is Rich’s drive to be a better person and his missteps aren’t seen as crushing defeats, but lessons on the road to his goals. That being said, the movie does pile on a lot of obstacles and poor Rich has a lot of issues, which makes the narrative a little tough to connect with. I also think 100 Yards is too drawn out, as the film runs almost two hours, but could easily get the same beats across in 80 minutes, with the filler snipped. But for those who appreciate faith based, inspiration minded movies, 100 Yards might be of interest.
The cast here is fine and turns in passable performances, but no one stands out as overly impressive or memorable. Steven Brewis is a competent lead, but the role asks a lot of him and he doesn’t always come through. But this is a complicated, emotional role that has Brewis needing to convey a lot, so I think he does well, considering his level of experience and such. I appreciated that the script lets his character be fairly realistic, with good and bad points, rather than just a one dimensional approach. I wish the rest of the story was as well written, as the characters overall are solid, just not put to effective use in the narrative. I think some viewers will be drawn here by Sean Patrick Flanery and while his role isn’t the central one, he has a good amount of screen time and gets to show off his chops a little. He is also given some decent depth, so Flanery makes use of that and delivers the best performance in the film. Melissa Paulo has a not so likable character, but gives a colorful, effective turn as well. The cast also includes Myles Cranford, Danielle Rayne, and R.C. Ormond.