Southpaw (2015)

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a boxer on top of the world. When his wife (Rachel McAdams) dies, he loses everything. Billy meets a trainer named Tick (Forest Whitaker) and starts to get his life back together.

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, 50 Cent, Naomie Harris

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, and some violence

Fun Fact: Eminem was the first choice to play Billy Hope but, withdrew from the role to concentrate on his music.

Southpaw, written by Kurt Sutter of Sons Of Anarchy fame, goes for the boxing story about a man that needs to redeem himself. The thing is that this film is a rehash of Rocky III. While Southpaw is more dark and gritty, you can tell certain plot points are close. If you follow the plot closely you can see the similarities. The lead character loses some one very close to him, some sort of mentor comes in and helps him out, and finally the lead character redeems himself at the end. While it’s just not Rocky III, its every other sports movie that has been made. The plot is predictable and it doesn’t really have an element of surprise.

For a boxing film, you need to have a few things that make it a boxing film. Those things are a training montage and the actual match scenes. It lacks a training montage as it is maybe a minute of footage which to me was disappointing. The match scenes are shot beautifully. You feel like you are there.

The best parts of the film are the acting between Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker. These two have amazing chemistry together and you want to see more scenes of them together. While I think 50 Cent does well in this, I didn’t care for his character. He just felt like a cliché Don King character. The opponent at the end was un-interesting as well. He’s not around much and you don’t really care about what happens to him at the end.

Overall Southpaw is just an average boxing film. It’s got all the plot clichés and a few characters as well. What makes it stand out is the acting between Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker and beautifully shot match scenes.

Verdict: Middle Ground

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