Closest to the Hole Productions, Fighter, Mandeville Films

Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Melissa McMeekin, Bianca Hunter, Erica McDermott, Dendrie Taylor

Mostly this is a story about a family, a really dysfunctional family at that. Two half brothers, Mark Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) are both fighters. At one point Dicky was the star and the hero of this small town, but a long battle with drugs has left him a shell of who he was. Meanwhile Mark seems washed up too, but the family still pins their hope of infamy on his shoulders. They are all about family and Mom (Melissa Leo) is the promoter and Dicky is the trainer. They set him up for the fight of his life, but it falls through at the last minute, and they set him up with a chump who is no match for Mark, except that he nearly kills him. Mark is way out matched. Then Dickey pulls Mike into a problem with the law and ends up in prison. Mark meets a charming lady bartender Charlene (Amy Adams) who tries to straighten him out to become the boxer he could well be. But that means putting Dickey and Mom and the rest of the family out of the picture. They are not going to stay out of Mark’s life without a major fight which Mark is not sure he wants to even fight.

This is nearly a documentary. On the DVD there is a special feature which introduces us to the real brothers and gives us a chance to see the real characters. These guys did a good job of representing the real guys and they seem to have tried to stay really close to the truth. That is probably the weakness and the nicest thing about this movie. Real life is not neatly tied up in a little 2 hour package like Hollywood likes to do. A movie with the preface “Based on a true story” is a clear signal that they took something that happened and wrote a fantastic journey that isn’t even close to what happened. This isn’t tied up in a neat little bow like this. But they did take one liberty, in a way. The fight at the climax of this movie was leading up to the final battle. But Mark got beat in the big fight, so they chose to end the movie with the fight before the big fight. But all that aside, this is a good boxing movie with lots of other stuff. Amy Adams is very good as always and she has become one of my favorite actresses with her good performances. She is the rudder to this whole story that keeps things on track. Christian Bale deserved the awards he got for his role. He was excellent in bringing the real Dickie to us. Dickie wasn’t a bad guy at all, and he could have been a great villain in this story, but that’s not the way it happened, and I think he played it just right.

Now I am not a fan of boxing. In a half Filipino household, I’m surrounded by lots of Manny Pacquiao fans, for sure, but I refuse to watch boxing as I find it really barbaric and I am disgusted by what happens to ex-boxers later in life. Plus I was a young man when Boom-Boom Mancini killed Duk Koo Kim on November 13, 1982, and what it did to the rest of his life.

[Click to see the Wikipedia entry]

He never could box again, and it virtually destroyed him. I don’t think intentional brain injuries are sport. But still, there have been a few good Boxing movies. I deal with the movies better than real boxing, because it is not real. No one is really getting beat to death in the movie. “Million Dollar Baby” was a good boxing movie, as was Rocky.

But this film is not so much about boxing, but more about the lives of the real people in the story, so I found it pretty good. Not my idea of a best picture of the year by far, but a fine film and one that probably ought not to be missed, especially if you’re a fan of this kind of underdog story.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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Movie Review - The Fighter (2010) {R}, 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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