Southpaw

Southpaw

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Kurt Sutter

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, Skylan Brooks, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Beau Knapp, Miguel Gomez, Dominic Colón, Jose Caraballo, Malcolm M. Mays, Aaron Quattrocchi, Lana Young

Synopsis: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

MPAA Rating: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

Stevennix2001's Rating:

8 / 10

Pros:

- Great performance by Jake Gylenhaal, who acts as the heart and soul of this tragic tale of redemption.

- Forest Whitaker is a great as the tough as nails trainer.

- Rachel McAdams kills it as the emotional anchor in this movie that holds it all together.

- Nicely paced.

- Direction was fairly decent

- Fight Choreography was great

- acting for the most part is decent

Cons:

- Predictable cliche story

- Some of the characters are a bit on dimensional (i.e. boxing antagonist)

A touching underdog story that's worth seeing.

"Southpaw" may seem like a stereotypical underdog boxing story. And for the most part, you could say that, but it's Jake Gyllenhaal's brilliant performance that makes it worth watching. If you've seen the trailers for this film by now, then you pretty much have a general idea on what the story is about. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if more than half of you that seen the trailers can probably tell me exactly how it ends; regardless if you've seen the film or not. That's how predictable this film is, and it's not that hard to figure out. The story goes something like this.

A reigning boxing champion loses his wife to a tragic set of circumstances. With his daughter in foster care after losing custody of her, and down on his luck since losing all his money, he's forced to go back to the beginning to regain what he's lost. All the sequence of events leading up to his final match to redeem himself again in the eyes of the world. Everything on the line. People are saying he's too old and washed up to make it. The boxing antagonist is nothing more than a generic douchebag. And if you've seen a million different underdog boxing stories before, then you can probably predict what happens next.

Unlike last year's "Nightcrawler", I doubt you'll be seeing this film being nominated for any screenplay awards. But like last critically acclaimed film, it features an actor that arguably should be one of the top contenders for next year's "Best Actor in a Leading Role" award at the Oscars. Let's just hope that the Academy doesn't snub him again like they did this year. Not only does Jake Gyllenhaal deliver a captivating performance ,but he manages to take what would've been an otherwise generic cliche "Rocky" style rip off boxing movie, and he somehow manages to turn it into a emotionally dramatic tale about a man trying to redeem himself within society itself.

Forest Whitaker does an excellent job playing the tough as nails trainer that helps Billy Hope (Jake Gylenhaal) fight his way back into contention for the title again. As for Rachel McAdams, she kills it as the loving housewife to Billy, who only wants whatever best for her family. Before she dies, she's presented as the glue that holds them together; hence making it that much more tragic when she dies. And from that point forward, Billy finds that everything he's worked so hard for becomes unraveled, with no one to lean on but himself.

The fight choreography is quite tasteful, as it would easily rank up there with the likes of "Raging Bull" or any of the "Rocky" films. Granted, I'm NOT comparing "Southpaw" to any of those movies, but the fight choreography alone is worth mentioning, as it could easily hold up with any of other great boxing films of the past.

Although "Southpaw" is a generic cliche underdog boxing story, the film has a lot of heart to it. And, a lot of that has to do with Jake's mesmerizing performance, as he literally carries the movie to where you can't help but sympathize with his character.

And like most of the "Rocky" films, you can't help but want to root for Billy once he steps into the ring to try to get his life back. It's a touching underdog story that punches all the right notes, while hitting you where it hurts.

If you haven't seen it by now, then I'd highly recommend it. Granted, it's not as great as Jake's last film, "Nightcrawler", but "Southpaw" is definitely a great movie in it's own right that deserves whatever praises it gets.


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