‘Emancipation’ Review: Will Smith’s Unrelentingly Brutal Slave Epic Is a B Movie with Delusions of Grandeur

, Antoine Fuqua’s thoroughly Oscar-pilled “Emancipation” is the kind of immaculate misfire that could only happen because Hollywood is spinning off its axis.

Because the American film industry has sacrificed medium-budget programmers at the altar of monolithic franchise blockbusters, original stories can only expect to be told if they feed into the awards machine and/or manufacture a sense of cultural significance.

That’s how you wind up with the director of “Olympus Has Fallen” making a stiff-jawed slavery epic that desperately wants to be something a lot smaller — and a little less important.That was never an option.

By virtue of its release date, subject matter, and star power alone, “Emancipation” was created to be seen through the same narrow lens of the system that produced it, and “The Slap” — an existential threat to any feature so dependent upon the Oscars for market enthusiasm — ironically did even more to

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