(2003)4.5Jeremy WheelerVery few entertainers throughout history have had as big of an impact as the legendary James Brown. Soul Survivor brilliantly documents the story of the impoverished youth from Augusta, GA, whose rise to power lead entire generations through America's darkest days. From his early days of gospel-inspired soul to his birth of funk, the special deftly shows how this famously controlling performer rose above musical traditions while becoming a leading figure among African-Americans throughout the 1960s and '70s. With dramatic archival footage fueling the story, the audience gets a rare glimpse into the genius that was The James Brown Show. Whether it's the smoking Ryker Island Prison show in 1972 or the televised broadcast the night of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, each clip is full of all the dynamite and soul that only he could bring to the stage. The downfall of the man is covered as well, with his habitual drug problems and famed IRS dealings being the focal point of the last third of the film. Soul Survivor is a testament to Brown's place in history -- not only musically, but also culturally. Despite all his flaws, he brought love, understanding, and an amazing grasp of the groove to a world that desperately needed it.