Mark Breta

My Quick Review: Southpaw

It’s about the fight. Set aside the gloves. Don’t mind the ring. Don’t worry–if you’re looking for a boxing movie, fight night is on!

But it’s not just about that. It’s about a husband’s fight for his wife. A father’s fight for his daughter. A gym owner’s fight for his neighborhood. A businessman’s fight for money. A boxer’s fight for his life.

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) grew up in the foster system, as did his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams). They’ve built a successful life together and Billy is at the top of his game, until one day when his world implodes. [I guess there’s some marketing purpose somewhere for the commercials to spoil so much, including that] He loses his wife, loses his daughter, eventually losing his house and all of his belongings. He goes to gym owner Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) looking to continue his training, in hopes that improving his life will win his daughter back.

So I’m just being honest, but I haven’t been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, even though he’s performed well in a wide array of roles. I saw him in Nightcrawler (2014) and End of Watch (2012) and was impressed. He doesn’t disappoint in his portrayal of Billy Hope.

I’m also personally not big on Forest Whitaker, but he always delivers. Sometimes I watch reruns of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2011) on the ION Television network and on Netflix and wish they’d bring it back (can someone get on that?)–and that was a minor stop on this star’s great and varied career.

Miguel Gomez, who plays Miguel “Magic” Escobar, one of Hope’s opponents, has somewhat of an overshadowed but crucial role in this film, but don’t let that detract from his acting chops. I was actually pleased to see him, after getting to know him in the FX television series, “The Strain” (which you need to check out, regardless if you’re a sci-fi or vampire story fan).

Overall, Southpaw is a good story with minor, clunky speed bumps, and open-ended, unsolved crime details, but could tug at your emotions and is well worth seeing.

In theaters July 24, 2015.
Visit the Southpaw movie website.

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