So far, the biggest thing going for the movie is Gyllenhaal’s transformation into a ripped looking boxer.
He reportedly gain 15 pounds for the role, mostly in muscle and has created ripples on social media. Body transformations always bode well around Oscar time, but whether this film has the legs to go the distance remains to be scene.
The problem is it’s a familiar take off on so many other boxing movies. A former champion becomes washed up and must fight his way back to respectability.
Gyllenhaal plays Billy “The Great” Hope, who has a hot wife (Rachel McAdams) darling daughter (Oona Laurence) and a respectable career as a boxer until he throws it all away in one foolish moment, when he starts a fight with a potential challenger played by real boxer Victor Ortiz.
In the ensuing brouhaha, Billy’s wife is shot and killed. That sends him on a downward spiral until he loses custody of his child and ends up an emotional wreck.
He becomes determined to turn things around and turns to grizzled trainer Titus “Tick” Wills played by Forest Whitaker, who takes him under his wing.
The plot is supposedly inspired by rapper Eminem’s own career struggles, but since the plot is so familiar, the success or failure of the movie will be in the telling.
The film has a hip-hop undertone. Eminem is writing the soundtrack, and his protege, rapper 50-Cent, plays a part in the movie. Judging from the trailer it brings a new level of realism to fight pictures.
“Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter co-wrote the screenplay with Eminem and Antoine Fuqua directed.
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