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Mostly a by-the-books boxing pic, but a jarring injury to the protagonist and solid performances from Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart make it a winner.
Is it worth $10? Yes
For its first 45 minutes, “Bleed For This” is a typical boxing movie: Talented fighter Vinny Pazienza (a game Miles Teller) has talent and determination, but a lot to learn. He teams with down-on-his-luck trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), works hard, and finds success.
What comes next, however, is anything but typical: Vinny breaks his neck in a horrific car accident. He opts to wear a “Halo” on his upper torso that literally screws into his head. The idea is for the neck to heal itself as it’s held in place for six months. Everyone tells him he’ll never fight again. Heck, he’ll be lucky just to walk again.
It also falls short in terms of standard boxing movie expectations. There are no great training montages. The music, both the songs and original score, are not dynamic. The fight choreography – meaning how it was shot, not the actual fighting itself – is as boring as it gets. There’s trash talk at a press conference, but nothing memorable. Vinny’s adversity may lead to a heck of a personal triumph, but it doesn’t make for a great boxing movie.
This is as moderate a film recommendation as can be given, for a movie that in its entirety is profoundly average. And yet I walked away smiling rather than annoyed, in large part because I liked the characters enough to overcome the weak storytelling.
Did you know?
One of Vinny’s opponents is Roberto Duran; “Hands Of Stone” was released in August 2016, and it tells Duran’s life story.