Southpaw Movie Review
There’s no crying during boxing movies. Right? Well Southpaw could probably make even the most hard-hearted, a little bit teary-eyed. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy “The Great” Hope, the reigning middleweight champion of the world.
The movie opens with Billy getting ready for another big fight, only this time he doesn’t have his usual confident swagger. The room is low key and he walks to the ring with no flourish, no music. Despite the ominous beginning, he wins the fight, once again drawing the additional attention of another contender for the title – Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez).
After attending an event, Escobar and Hope get into it resulting in Maureen, Hope’s wife (played by Rachel McAdams), being shot and killed. Hope slides into a steep spiral of deep depression. The spiral is so deep, he loses his boxing title, his home, and most importantly, his daughter (played with true heart-felt emotion by Oona Laurence). How far can one fall before picking himself up to repair the pieces of his life?
If you’re a fan of the Rocky series, you will find several parallels with bits and pieces taken out of each Rocky movie - from the rags to riches to rags boxer, to returning to the gym in the “old neighborhood”. Remember Duke, the crooked boxing promoter from Rocky 5? His character has been updated and replaced by Curtis “50 cent” Jackson in the role of Jordan Mains. Mains is all about the money, not the boxer. Forest Whitaker plays Tick and is the substitute for Mickey from the Rocky series. In fact, there were so many similarities, it makes one wonder if Southpaw is meant to be the Rocky for the new generation of movie-goers.
Yes, much of the movie is full of clichés. From Hope’s slow-witted speech to rambling gate, further indicating his life as a boxer, to the “out-of-her element” wife transplanted from the poor house to the big, rich house. Unless you’re paying special close attention, you may miss the subtle reference to why the movie is called Southpaw.
Despite the extreme similarities to Rocky and the film's predictability, if you like boxing movies, which I love, you will be caught up in the fight scenes – ducking and throwing your own punches in your seat. The emotional moments may leave you a bit teary-eyed as you cheer for the underdog.
I give this movie a four out of five stars.
Run time: 123 minutes
Rated: R language and some violence
I paid for entry to the movie theater with my own funds and have not been compensated for this review.
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