Two movie reviews in a week? Say whaaaattt?
I just got home from seeing an early showing for Southpaw, written by Kurt Sutter and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and I am thoroughly impressed.
I’ll put it out there that I have pretty much disliked every movie with Jake Gyllenhaal I have ever seen. Bubble Boy, The Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain, Brothers, pass, pass, pass, pass. He always seemed like a really good actor I just couldn’t stand any of his roles, I couldn’t relate to or root for any of his characters in the slightest. But I feel like Gyllenhaal was made for this movie. He plays the role amazingly.
Basically, it’s a rags to riches story after the riches. Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) and his wife were orphans raised in the system without a dime to their name, they meet, fall in love, get married, and have a kid. He becomes a champion boxer, provides an amazing life for his family. Sounds good, the end. And it would have been except for a series of crappy events that befalls him and his family.
Instead of rags to riches, this is actually a story of redemption. I often hear about fighting, that what matters most is getting back up on your feet when you’ve been knocked down. Billy Hope doesn’t just get knocked down in the ring, but he gets utterly knocked down in life, and has to learn how to piece it back together and fight his way back, physically, emotionally, and figuratively.
Kurt Sutter’s penchant for gritty dramas really translates well from the TV set to the big screen. I’m not sure how much experience he has away from television series like Sons of Anarchy and The Shield, but he did a phenomenal job writing the story for Southpaw. In true Sutter fashion, Kurt took your favorite characters life and turned it on its head, though Sutter is not quite as merciless with main characters as say, George R.R. Martin.
Director Antoine Fuqua is no stranger to action and drama, making such movies as Training Day, Shooter, and The Equalizer. He did an amazing job squeezing every inch of talent of his cast. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachael McAdams, and Forest Whitaker are all seasoned actors so the bar was pretty high, and they soared right past it. Even Curtis Jackson (50 Cent) who only moonlights as an actor carried his weight on screen.
The story is pretty straight forward and we’ve seen it dressed up differently with other movies like The Fighter, Warrior, and Rocky, so there’s really no surprise or award for originality, but Southpaw is still a very enjoyable movie and worth seeing. It’s probably the biggest fight movie we’ll see for a while until the Rocky spinoff movie Creed hits theaters later in 2015, so if you’ve got the itch to see guys kick the crap out of each other, go catch Southpaw.
Overall, I give Southpaw an 7/10, and a 9/10 for nail biting experience.