Southpaw online movie review - An emotional movie with some real boxing scenes. 7/10
Review: I quite enjoyed this emotional movie and I definitely think that Jake Gyllenhaal should be up for an Oscar for his amazing transformation.
The storyline did seem to drag after a while but I couldn't wait for the big showdown at the end. Anyway, Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) seems to have it all, with his big mansion, beautiful wife and loving daughter, and when the lightweight boxer wins all of the championship belts, life really can't get any better for this man who struggled through his childhood. He then gets invited to a charity event were he gives a speech about his life and his love for his wife, Maureen Hope (Rachel McAdams) but his whole life changes when a gun is fired during a punch up with his arch-rival, Miguel "Magic" Escobar (Miguel Gomez). The shot, mistakingly hits his wife, who dies on the spot, which leaves a distraught Billy Hope, to bring up his daughter Leila Hope (Oona Laurence). Whilst trying to defend his title, he basically gives up fighting against his opponent and he ends up head-butting the referee out of shear frustration. Now that he's lost his title, it defaults a 3 fight deal that he has with a television company and he's being sued for the head-butting incident. With his debts piling up and his boxing career in tatters, he turns to drink and drugs for comfort and the depression from losing his wife, starts to take its toll. He then ends up in hospital after crashing his car into a tree, so the child protection agency are brought in, because they found drink and drugs in his body while he was driving. A judge decides to put Leila into care while Billy sorts his life out, so he sells his house to clear up his debts and he gets a job in a gym, which he also uses to train. After much persuasion, he manages to get the gym owner, Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) to train him in his own unique way, which will improve his boxing skills but his daughter refuses to see him because she blames him for being in care. He then gets a chance to box in a charity bash, we're he shows of his new boxing style and impresses his old manager, Jordan Mains (50 Cent), who is now managing Escobar. He offers him a chance to return to the big league by challenging Escobar to a championship bout but he only has 6 weeks to train and to get in shape. As he desperately needs the money to get his daughter back, he goes through some gruesome training with Tick and he manages to build a relationship with his daughter again. With his new trainer by his side and his daughter back in his life, he uses every muscle in his body to fight against the man who was involved in the murder of his wife. I really enjoyed the intensity during boxing fights and the emotional scenes with his daughter. Jakes anger issues were performed extremely well and the love that he had for his wife was really sweet, just like Rocky with Adrian but I did find it a bit predictable. Personally, I'm surprised that they didn't pick 50 Cent to play the boxer because of his physique and hard man mentality! Anyway, I enjoyed this movie and the hero to zero to hero again, concept was well put together by the director. Enjoyable!
Round-Up: Although the critics had great things to say about this film, when it was released, it's still not the type of film that you can watch time and time again like the early Rocky movies. Its not that it isn't a quality film, it's just that it's not a feel good movie were you start punching the air when you come out of the cinema. The personal issues that Jake's character is going through are extremely deep and you do have to be in the right mood to watch it. With that aside, the performances are top class from the whole cast, especially Jake Gyllenhaal, 34, who really hit the mainstream in 2001, when he starred in Donnie Darko. Since then, he has covered many genres in movies like the big budget The Day After Tomorrow, Jarhead, Brokeback Mountain, Rendition, Zodiac, Brothers, Prince of Persia, Love & Other Drugs, Source Code, the brilliant End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy and Nightcrawlers. With Everest and Demolition due to be released soon and 5 movies in the pipeline which includes the Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch and Okja with Bill Nighy and Tilda Swinton, he really has proved that he can completely transform his acting style, like he did in this film and in End of Watch. Anyway, this movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua, 49, who has quite a impressive portfolio to date. Titles to his name include, the Replacement Killers, Bait with Jamie Foxx, Training Day, Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis, King Arthur with Clive Owen and Kiera Knightley, Shooter with Mark Wahlberg, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Must Fall and the Equalizer. Judging by his previous movies, it's not surprising how committed Antoine was, to this project and I must admit, the boxing scenes did seem extremely real. He also got the best out of Gyllenhaal, so I have to give him props for making a memorable film which touched many emotional heart strings.
Budget: $30million Worldwide Gross: $91million
I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/drama/sports movies starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent and Naomie Harris. 7/10