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No big punch and never went the ten rounds( crown)
The Fighter (DVD)
Member Name: thedevilinme
The Fighter (DVD)
Date: 20/10/11, updated on 01/11/11 (50 review reads)
Disadvantages: Routine fight film
Star - Mark Wahlberg & Christian Bale
Run-Time - 116 minutes
Genre - True story sports drama
Country - USA
Certificate - 15
The standard of Oscar winners goes down every year for me, the big studios sharing out the spoils as if operating like a cartel, judging by some of the surprise but big budget winners of late, The Academy seemingly subservient to this, The Fighter an example of, earning an astonishing seven nominations, almost as overrated as The Hurt Locker the previous year, earning similar plaudits, a cheesy and cliché war film at best, as is this in the boxing genre.
Although this didn't win Best Film or Screenplay, the twin Oscar victories for Best Supporting Actress and Actor for Melissa Leo and Christian Bale respectively feels premeditated to me as their performances are nothing out of the ordinary. Don't get me wrong, Bale is a great screen actor and one of my favorites but his performance here is just ok and nothing more. Melissa Leo getting a gong for a bog-standard matriarch role also very odd. It was almost as if Hollywood had to put something up against the King Speech as they knew the Brits would sweep the board and so tried to gather the patriotic home-grown vote with something populist, America V verses Britain if you like. Hollywood seemed determined this rather bland boxing film would be their best chance to pick up loyal votes.
The film is based on the true story of Boston welterweight fighter 'Irish' Mickey Ward, who would eventually go on to fight for a world title after overcoming a tough upbringing and family problems. But the problem there is do we really need another boxing movie as we have already scene the definitive work, Rocky and Raging Bull outstanding pieces of iconic cinema and so job done, Stallone and Scorsese shamelessly ignored for best actor and director respectively back then, and that really my point on the modern day political Hollywood and why so-so like this still wins awards.
Mark Wahlberg ... Micky Ward
Christian Bale ... Dicky Eklund
Amy Adams ... Charlene Fleming
Melissa Leo ... Alice Ward
Mickey O'Keefe ... Mickey O'Keefe
Jack McGee ... George Ward
Melissa McMeekin ... 'Little Alice' Eklund
Bianca Hunter ... Cathy 'Pork' Eklund
Erica McDermott ... Cindy 'Tar' Eklund
Jill Quigg ... Donna Eklund Jaynes
Dendrie Taylor ... Gail 'Red Dog' Eklund
Kate B. O'Brien ... Phyllis 'Beaver' Eklund
'Irish' Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is the little brother to local hero Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), a Boston born and bred boxing champions who's claim to fame was knocking Sugar Ray Leonard down to go close to winning a World Title back in the early 80s, Henry Copper style, but now a heroine addict and Mickey's trainer, his career falling away soon after.
For Dickie he is newsworthy once again as a local TV crew are making a film about his addiction and that fall from grace, grabbing the chance with both gloves to be in the limelight once again. But Mickey the boxing prospect now but very much under the thumb of his mother Alice (Melissa Leo), who is also his manager and promoter, very much a family business. But his fights are often mismatches to suit family finances, Mum a good Catholic as far as contraception goes and so another seven daughters by two different fathers to support from Mickey's purses, and when he gets beat up by a stand-in some twenty pounds heavier, Mickey decides to weigh up an offer from a Vegas promoter to move out to the desert to get that eventual title shot under him and not her, a tough decision.
Alice thinks his apathy towards her and Dicky is coming from his new girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams) and when Dickie is jailed for fighting and hitting a policeman the family eventually turn against Mickey as he trains with another local Jim, the family losing their only source of income. The question now is can Mickey get that title fight without them and will he be able to box clever without his beloved brother by his side for the big eliminator fight against Irelands Shea Neary.
The main problem with this is who the hell is Irish Mickey Ward and why should we care about him in a true story context, even though he is played by the likeable Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg has become rather stereotyped as the loveable dumb lug of late and puts in a lazy performance here. The Hurricane with the charismatic Denzel Washington is another true story about boxing but he makes you want to care for the character, why it is far more engaging and interesting boxing film, and probably the third best boxing movie ever made outside of the Rocky franchise. But what on earth is original about yet another rags-to-riches story involving a boxer from the ghetto making good? All boxers come from the ghetto and so the ones who win belts have that same journey, right? I'm sure the tale may resonate more with Americans as they are more familiar with the story of Ward but to me there is nothing new here and the whole thing predictable and surprisingly heartless, the Irish American attempt at Rocky that falls flat.
As I said before, Wahlberg's performances is very two dimensional here and you can't make out if he is playing a 'punchy' boxer or simply forgetting his lines. Bale, as magnetic as ever, does his unstable skinny bloke thing again and steels the show, managing to look much older than Bale in the film even though he is three years younger than Wahlberg, but still can't lift the film this into Oscar territory, .whilst the beautiful Amy Adams is completely wasted as the brassy local barmaid. By all-accounts the cast loved the script and wanted the roles badly, Wahlberg agreeing to wave his upfront fee to get the Ward role and Bale taking the superstars minimum of $250,000 for the role. But why?
I don't think director David O Russell does the best he can with the material either and even though the cast give it a go you don't feel the story is chunky or romantic enough to be made into a movie the punters would care about. But, even though the punters have seen it all before, they ramped up its ratings on the IMDB, a very rare score of 8/10, especially for a sports movie.
The biggest disappointment here is you just don't end up rooting for Ward in the final big fight showdown like you did Rocky, Wahlberg not looking like a fighter out there, critical to these boxing movies working and the punter punching the air with him on the bell. There are moments of humour and authentic Irish charm but with an iffy modern soundtrack for the era it's supposed to be set in it never really feels right and so never edges above perfunctory sports biopic. Wahlberg is way better in his other sports movie called Invincible and that the one you should watch. This film is why Marty Scorsese is the boss. But with its $25 million budget and Oscar buzz it did good business, making $100 million plus to date through multiplex and DVD release.
= = = Special Features = = =
~ Audio Commentary ~
David O Russell talks about his movie.
~ The Warriors Code: The Making of 'The Fighter' ~
Your standard backslapping stuff from cast & crew.
~ Keeping the Faith ~
Mildly interesting as we get to meet the real Ward and his brother and what they think of the film.
~Deleted and Extended scenes ~
= = = The Critics = = =
The Guardian - "The Fighter looks at first as if it is going to be a far more interesting movie than the straightforward and even rather undemanding drama we finally get".
The Sun "- A rickety, unfocused contraption of a film that sputters and chugs along without offering any hint of why its director thought it was worth making.
The Los Angles Time - "Christian Bale - reduced lately to whispering solemnity in the likes of Dark Knight and Terminator Salvation - gets to really cut loose with Dicky in a performance that is sure to give Geoffrey Rush a run for his money on Oscar night".
Film4 - "Predictable, but solid enough"
Imdb.com - 8.0/10.0 (76,741 votes)
Metacritic.com - 79% critic's approval rating
Rottentomatos.com - 91% critic's approval rating
Summary: Another hyped Oscar winner