Title (Brazil): `O Round Final' (`The Final Round')
Price of Glory (2000)
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Title (Brazil): `O Round Final' (`The Final Round')
Rocky meets Mi Familia or is it more than that? Price of Glory chronicles the life of Arturo Ortega (Jimmy Smits) who lost his fighting edge early in his prize fighting career. Now thirteen years later, he trains his three boys to take him back to the top. What Ortega seems to forget is the boxing world is full of corruption, blood and honor. Can he help one of his boys reach the goal that eluded him? Price of Glory breaks some new ground in boxing films by mixing family conflicts with the high stakes of the boxing world. Another important part of this new ground was the Latino angle. I cant remember seeing a film about Latino fighters even though some of them are the best boxers in the world. It made me curious to see if the training and development of a boxer is different with a different cultural background. I believed that the boxing would be the bridge to stretch across the cultures.
There are some that will have a hard time with the detailed Latino content. It is at times hard to relate to that cultural barrier. Are some of the elements pressed upon these incorrigible youths from the society or a ploy by the writer himself? The intensity locked within Smits patriarch maybe that cultural barrier I couldnt quite understand. Stubborn, determined, passionate, proud and obsessed, Smits delivers a great performance but what exactly is this characters motives? Is he doing it for himself or to better his kids lives? These begging questions made you feel the frustration in the boys when their father would explode. He was the lord of the household and he ran their lives. Did this character have to be such a tyrant at times to get his point across? Or was this yet again a cultural thing? Price of Glory has a lot of great boxing sequences and I did like the evolution of the child boxer but being an outsider to this culture it is a little hard to grasp the motive locked within Smits beautiful portrayal. His questions are never quite answered. Even with the tragedy that grips the Ortegas there is never really see an answer. What we do see is a Rocky type finale which delves into the family pulling together to defeat the champion. I half expected to be brother against brother for the title but even though it was straight from Rocky it was nice to see a full Hollywood fight. Price of Glory opened more questions than answered them for me. (3 of 5) So Says the Soothsayer. (Opens March 31st)
Familiar yet well acted boxing oriented family affair drama with Smits as a patriarch to a brood of budding boxers who lives his failed dreams vicariously through his tough yet tender hearted loving sons who each must face their own destinies while pledging allegiance to their well-meaning but demanding father. The storyline, although predictable, cuts to the bone how one man's failure can be resurrected by his family and realizing before it's too late that sometimes a dream may only be just that. (Dir: Carlos Avila)
By Blake French:
A father pressures his children to accomplish tasks he failed to do when he was their age. Will his determination push his offspring over the edge? Will his family fall apart? Any experienced moviegoer will recognize these questions. In "Price of Glory," the most shameless father-son movie since "Dead Poets Society," heavy-handed morals burden us with cynical messages in which we already know to be true. Director Carlos Avila is so focused here he forgets to give the audience relief from the dramatic lectures characters recite out of habit rather than out of passion.
"Price of Glory" details a Mexican family's attempts at victory in the sport of boxing. The father, Arturo Ortega (well played by Jimmy Smits), husband of Rita (Maria del Mar), lost a world title when he was young and does not what his three sons to make the same failures. He trains his children young, putting boxing authority over that of homework, school, or any future outside sports. Jimmy (Clifton Collins Jr.), Sonny (Jon Seda), and Johnny (Ernesto Hernandez), are good at the sport, but their father expects too much.
I cannot figure out why the film takes so long to develop young Johnny and Jimmy Ortega as hardened boxers when a key figure in the story is Sonny. Perhaps the filmmakers are endeavoring to show discipline between Arturo and his individual children. This method does not work as well as it should.
The movie is shameless in the Arturo character's discipline. Nearly every character experiences high pressure. The tired message is already so familiar, seeing this movie serves no purpose in the first place. Relationships are sacrificed. Careers become unclear. Finances are pursued. All the events begin to unravel for another predictable climax.
The Ortega children grow to be young adults, still acquiring a passion for boxing through their demanding father. Johnny, Jimmy, and Sonny all become world class fighters. Sonny becomes married. Jimmy losses an important match to Davey Lane (Louis Mandylor). Arturo does business with a classy representative named Nick Everson (Ron Perlman), who guarantees successful careers through his agency. A family tragedy occurs incorporated by the semi-accidental murder of a character. The Ortegas become closer than ever. Sonny vows to defeat Davey Lane and claim victory without his father's assistance.
That is basically "Price of Glory" in a nutshell, riddled with structural problems, character flaws, and a contrived conclusion. This film is a prime example of a one-line script, lacking dimension, depth, and the story moves forward to a predictable and trite ending. The film's atmosphere is dull due to the lack of conflict. Arturo Ortega's demanding persistence is the internal antagonism, but the external seems to change in order to meet the script's necessity.
The biggest problem with "Price of Glory" is the lack of profundity within the characters. Writer Phil Berger sets up the theme of action so quickly, he forgets depth and characterization. We are never exposed to their inner personalities nor do we get to know them. How can we empathize with characters whom we do not know? A key example of a character flaw is the relationship between Sonny and his newlywed wife. The audience never witnesses any passion or love scenes between them, and the filmmakers do not take advantage of the physical appeal of well-cast actor Jon Seda's. His character enhances moral straightening in act two. However, that is just part of the film's ironic use of Arturo's sons drifting in and out of focus determining his stance on life.
The boxing scenes are some of the movie's best. Such sequences are taut, brutal and believable. When Sonny battles Davey Lane the tension in the audience is peak high. Unfortunately, this final confrontation is of the most predictable and formulaic I have ever witnessed. Jon Seda brings a reliable character forth and as a convincing boxer. However, all of the characters are well acted. This is why we wish for a more gradual script.
"Price of Glory" contains a narrative problem in the last component of the second act. Most of this section wastes time, although it contains a few truth revealing confrontations. The scenes do not move the story forward, but build to a horrible conclusion. In the later parts, this movie's story changes its mind of what it details. We experience this contrived switch from family standards to achieving a victory through a boxing match.
The climax in "Price of Glory" reminds me of that of "The Might Ducks." Both are against all odds but expected. Both offer effective tension and action. Both are pointless. Unlike "Price of Glory," however, at least the other film contained comic relief. If "Price of Glory" were to smile, I think the character's faces would crack.
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.