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Review

Reviewer has high regards for new boxing movie

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February 10, 2011

I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover. Well, if I had to pick sides, that’s what I would say. But picking sides just leads to fights, so I won’t go that route.

Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) has a similar time choosing a side in the recent release The Fighter, directed by David O. Russel. Throughout the film we watch Micky, the protagonist, get assaulted not only by physical punches, but emotional ones too.

Micky is a semi-professional boxer trying to make it big, riding not only the success of his father and brother of Ward fame, but also their advice and training. His mother acts as manager. His whole family seemingly is dedicated to the sport. They taught him everything he knows, but a whole series of telling — and sometimes veiled — events make him start to question what’s best for himself.

Throughout the narrative, the audience is taken on a powerful journey of love, violence, hard decisions, hard drugs and hard work. If you think you have this “boxing movie” pegged, think again.

The Fighter is a well-writted drama based on the true story of Micky Ward in the 1980s. You just can’t make some of this stuff up; the plot twists and turn arounds will have you clinging to edge of your seat. Even if small parts are fictionalized for the sake of making a coherent story, it at least adds to the poignancy of this under-dog action-drama.

If you like character development, get ready to have your heart strings played, and played well. Or rather, punched. Then upper cutted. Such is the nature of the underdog story. But what will knock you out is the number of characters and how closely and significantly they interact as the plot develops.

If you like action, prepare for an old school diet of punching and lifting weights, with a side of running from the police and jumping out of the window a few times for dessert.

Up until the final fight scene, this movie maintains a very realistic feel. The characters are real and believable, and the storyline isn’t predictable to those unfamiliar with the history.

Personally, I have never watched a boxing movie in my life; I have never seen Rocky. But I did walk away from this movie with a newfound respect for boxing.

Elliot John Novak is an alumnus of UW-River Falls.