|Click image just above to get|
more info on MERAJ DHIR
Dir. Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker,
Rachel McAdams, Victor Ortiz
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
By Meraj Dhir
The Film Corner's
Ghee Time Columnist
If you've seen the trailer for Southpaw, there's no reason to see the intolerably dull film. The trailer deftly encapsulates what otherwise takes 124 lugubrious minutes to slog through. However, if you're amenable to gazing at Jake Gyllenhaal's chiseled torso, Curtis "Fifty Cent" Jackson's ivory white veneers and Forest Whitaker spewing out a veritable geyser of scene-chomping dialogue, all amidst plenty of predictable boxing melodrama with dashes of crime sprinkled on, then please help yourself.
Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, Training Day) is one of the most reliably boring paint-by-numbers directors working in major motion pictures today, but he cant be solely blamed for this dross since the screenplay, penned by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy) resembles a computer-engineered piece of software (the softer elements of said ware residing mostly between Sutter's ears) to generate a generic fight picture.
Bursting with the force of a hamster in a microwave oven, all the necessary by-rote fucking-up, redemption and rehabilitation plot points, shoehorned into all the "proper" places, results in a movie we've seen many times before. Though it will please anyone who buys into the generic rules belched out by screenwriting gurus like Robert McKee, the rest of us (unless we're as brain dead as this movie's filmmakers) can snore through every second of this film.
Here's a handy checklist of the events of the film.
I bet you haven't seen any of this before:
Fighter loses everything because he is a fuck-up.
The losses include the death of his wife to the bullet of a thug and custody of his daughter (because on both counts he's a fuck-up of the highest order and brings tragedy upon himself).
He requires one last fight to make his comeback.
In order to achieve this, our hero must accept humility and control his anger in and out of the ring. Cue rousing training montage a la any Rocky film (take your pick - all or one).
Crawl to a dull climactic fighting match with plenty of in and out of the ring editing and bargain basement Raging Bull camera pyrotechnics a la Raging Bull. This might be enough to keep one's attention, but bothering to do so instead of nodding off will merely hammer home the fact that the movie has been solely crafted to offer Jake Gyllenhaal a decent Oscar Nomination and/or free training to get into the best physical condition of his life.
There are movies, like Gavin O'Connor's Warrior and David O. Russell's The Fighter, which push the genre forward, but Southpaw does little more than vaguely hold one's attention until one realizes it's doing little more than fulfilling the aforementioned checklist.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: * One-Star
Southpaw is a Weinstein Company release through eOne.