The Power of One
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John G. Avildsen, director of Rocky and The Karate Kid, adapts Bryce Courtenay's compassionate novel about the coming of age of a white anti-apartheid activist during the years of World War II in South Africa. Avildsen cumbersomely grafts Courtenay's tale of fighting apartheid onto a Hollywood-style fight-for-the-championship bout. Seven-year-old P.K. (Guy Witcher) is a white South African raised on his family's farm by his Zulu nanny. When his mother takes ill, he is sent away to an Afrikaner boarding school, where he is picked on and nearly killed by the school bully during a pep… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 39%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Beautifully produced and gorgeously shot on location in Zimbabwe by lenser Dean Semler, picture has depth, dimension and first-rate casting."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A violent cartoon that trivializes apartheid. If there's any justice, the birds of loneliness will be circling the box office."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
‑ John Esther, Pasadena Weekly
"Mostly, it's a long, heavy-handed narrative about the personal costs of South Africa's system of apartheid, set in the removed safety of bygone decades and mixed with generous helpings of Chariots of Fire and Rocky."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"Avildsen draws good performances from the three actors who play PK, as well as from the ever-reliable Freeman and Müller-Stahl, but subtlety is abandoned when he focuses on the ring and teen romance."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"It's resounding bunk, candied over with the lush music of Johnny Clegg and hyped to death by director John ("Rocky") Avildsen."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"A startling film about a young South African boy's coming of age under the tutelage of three spiritual elders."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"The film's facile treatment of racial issues may be enough to bring back the practice of throwing tomatoes at the screen."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Though rife with worthy intentions and great notions, this populist safari manages to be both patronizing and manipulative."
‑ Rita Kempley, Washington Post
"This is patronizing, offensive garbage, bought to you by the director of The Karate Kid."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for The Power of One on Rotten Tomatoes