Movie Review: The Weinstein Company's SOUTHPAW


Director: Antoine Fuqua
Written By: Kurt Sutter and Richard Wenk
Release Date: July 24th 2015
Runtime: 123 Minutes
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent and Rachel McAdams
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, and some violence
Genres: Action | Drama | Sport | Thriller

Official Sites: Facebook | Twitter #Southpaw
From acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) and screenwriters Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Richard Wenk (THE MECHANIC), SOUTHPAW tells the riveting story of Billy "The Great" Hope, reigning Junior Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World (Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal). Billy Hope seemingly has it all with an impressive career, a beautiful and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence) and a lavish lifestyle. When tragedy strikes and his lifelong manager and friend (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) leaves him behind, Hope hits rock bottom and turns to an unlikely savior at a run-down local gym: Tick Willis (Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer to the city's toughest amateur boxers. With his future riding on Tick's guidance and tenacity, Billy enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves.

This week's film is Southpaw.  It's a sports movie. It's a boxing movie. It's a movie that celebrates left-handed people (and, really, there are not enough movies celebrating left-handed people.)  It's also the comeback story of a boxer named Billy Hope.  Southpaw is a lot of things, except original. Stay with me. I know you're thinking this is going to be an unfavorable review, but Southpaw has some watch-worthy components for which you have to read to the end.
If you've caught our reviews before, (and if you haven't, feel free to scroll through the site to find more of our gems. My fellow reviewers and I write some good stuff. But I digress...) you have noticed that we don't like to give away the plot in our reviews. Well, is it too much to say that if you've seen Rocky III, you've seen Southpaw?  Because this movie is a lot like Rocky III, and you've already seen it.  But that's not all, Stallone and Mr. T did it better.  This feels like a rehashed version of Rocky III that doesn't live-up to the original.  With Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker in the cast, I expected more.  I wanted a better story. I wanted to be invested in Hope's comeback.  I was disappointed. 

That doesn't mean that I think this movie is completely bad. There are a few aspects of the film that might be worth your while. At the beginning of the film, there is a very moving scene including Rachel McAdams.  I think I forgot to breathe for a minute during the scene because it was so moving.  And Forest Whitaker was awesome. I have mentioned that this film has parallels to Rocky III. If anyone could come close to the acting ability of the late, great Burgess Meredith (or Mickey in the Rocky saga) it would be Forest Whitaker. Whitaker brings the drama, the wisdom and the one-liners. Cannot say enough good things about his performance as Tick Willis. I could have watched a whole movie titled "Tick Willis," and it would have been fine.  Also, the soundtrack, produced by Eminem, was very good. 

So, there it is. Not all good, but not all bad. And if you've never seen Rocky III, go see Southpaw because, if I hadn't seen Rocky III, I may have enjoyed Southpaw more.  Go see it for Rachel McAdams.  Go see it for Forest Whitaker. Go see it because you want to encourage more films highlighting left-handed individuals. Just don't expect to be knocked-out. Please don't take my word for it; see Southpaw for yourself playing in theaters now.

Eminem has released the official music video for his long "Phenomenal" featured in the movie. Eminem served as Exceutive Producer of the Southpaw soundtrack, which will release on July 24th.

The song is available now on iTunes and the soundtrack is available for pre-order:

via Shady Records/Interscope Records

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