Thursday, July 23, 2015
Movie Review : Southpaw
Another boxing (sports) drama with the lead being on top of the world yet sees it all come crashing down around him/her has hit the big screen once again. This time we see Jake's character Billy Hope in this all familiar position of life. This film has been getting pre Oscar buzz for Jake's performance so I wanted to see if it was worthy of the praise. Though I was going to watch this at some point I was sent an email earlier in the week saying that I could have free tickets to the show if I registered for them. You don't have to ask me twice if I want to not pay for a movie I had every intention of watching anyways.
Billy is the light heavyweight boxing champion of the world and he has a beautiful wife (Rachel McAdams Maureen) and a cute yet spunky daughter that both love him to death. It is nice to see Rachel back to the natural beauty that she is as in the current HBO series True Detective they have uglied her down. All Maureen wants from Billy is to take a break from the ring but an unfortunate accident happens when Billy's well known anger gets the best of him and the domino effect from it results in Maureen's death. Left with his daughter, guilt and despair Billy loses his championship in a fight he shouldn't have done and soon loses everything else as most of his friends leave him and his promoter played by 50 Cent (obviously based on Don King) who portrayed himself as family to the Hopes turns his back on him. Soon after Billy loses his mental stability and then his daughter to child protective services. He has hit rock bottom and his daughter hates him.
Determined to get his life and daughter back he enlists the help of Forrest Whitaker's character Titus who owns a rundown gym to help him get back on track. After some more self reflection and nose to the ground determination he eventually earns his daughter back and ends up in the ring opposite the boxer who was in the room on the fateful day his wife was killed.
Final Thoughts :
I love my sports films and I love my "overcoming" life stories and the cast for this flick are some of my favorites I like to see on the big screen. The fist half of the film I felt I got what I paid for (nothing) while the second half I felt was top notch with emotional connections. It is not a coincidence that Forrest Whitaker shows up basically at the half way mark of the movie. His character along with Rachel's and the little daughter are the heart and soul of this film and I fully enjoyed every moment when they were on screen. My problem lies with the fact they are not the main characters as Jake is the one in the spotlight and while he doesn't do a bad job he does a "one-note" job which is fine and all but for 2 hours it wears thin.
Jake has lifted up other movies with his acting which is above average overall but in this film he seems to drag it down a tad. His daughter had more emotional range than he did and she was only on the screen for a handful of scenes. Rachel was great for the time she was alive and Forrest always seems to bring his "A" game. The boxing scenes are top notch and realistic and I read that Jake trained to be in boxing shape for this role and it shows.
With my expectations slightly raised due to other reviews and previews I saw I left disappointed. Not a bad film mind you just less than what I expected. It is worth a rental at home for sure but not the $13+ for a date night. Thankfully I paid $0
Final Grade :
Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.