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An ex-boxer, living with the knowledge that his fight career was cut short by a crooked manager, channels his bitter disappointment in a single-minded quest for boxing championships for his three sons. We see them in pee-wee Silver Glove matches with dad constantly pushing them. Ten years later, they're young men, with dad as both father and manager. A professional promoter, Nick Everson, wants to sign the boys, but dad rejects those offers. Then, in expressions of their varied relationships with their father, each son makes his own decisions. Can dad ever step aside, and can the family hold together? Written by
`Price of Glory' has the advantage of opening up for the audience a milieu with which most of us are probably unfamiliar the world of amateur boxing viewed within the context of a Mexican/American family and neighborhood. Yet, having introduced us to this novel realm, the film then ends up stranding us in a welter of sports movie stereotypes and clichés.
Jimmy Smits (who ages barely a skosh during the film's 23-year time span) plays the ultimate stereotype the machismo-driven ex-fighter who is attempting to rectify his own failed boxing career by living his life through his three sons, driving them to extremes both in the ring and out. Often confusing fatherhood with promotion and management, Arturo Ortega inspires his children to alternately idolize and fear him, frequently pushing them away from him in the process. The film trods well-worn territory in its exploration of how excessive parental pressure often results in the loss of filial loyalty.
Although the overall story is pat and predictable, traveling the customary arc common to virtually every sports movie ever made, the plot lines are often obscure and confusing for the uninitiated. We frequently can't grasp the esoteric ins and outs of boxing promotion that the film takes for granted we understand. As a result, we often don't identify very fully with many of the arguments Arturo always seems to be having with his sons.
And, of course, the film lacks the courage of its convictions at the end. Having spent close to two hours warning us against trying to fulfill our dreams through the lives of our children, the film settles for a conventional finish that advocates just that very cause. Thus, for all its uniqueness of setting (Mariposa, Arizona) and milieu, `Price of Glory' brings nothing much new to its genre.
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