On November 1988, Vinny Pazienza boxes Roger Mayweather for the WBC World Light Welterweight Title. He arrives late to the weigh-in, as he has been riding a stationary bicycle in order to make the weight limit. Vinny's final weight is 140 pounds even, which qualifies him for the fight. Instead of resting up for the fight, Vinny spends the night at a casino. The following day, he loses to Mayweather. At one point during the fight, Vinny is hit after the bell. His boxing manager Lou Duva causes a scene by going after Mayweather, but is punched as a result. Following the match, Duva tells the media that Vinny should retire from boxing. This angers Vinny's father Angelo (who serves as his coach), and he confronts Duva. In the ensuing argument, Vinny announces that he wants another fight, and hires Kevin Rooney as his coach..
The title fight against Dele was not a second round knock out, as depicted in the film, rather a 12th round TKO. The referee stopped the fight at 2:10 of the 12th round. See more »
At the beginning of the Duran fight the commentators say that Pazienza is trying to win the belt 3 weight classes higher than the one where he had won his 1st world title. Actually, the gap was 5 weight classes (between lightweight and super middleweight). See more »
This is a terrifically acted and well-told true story, but it may give some contemplative Movie Fans pause.
Movie Fans who are also fans of boxing movies know the formula well: There's a young fighter who many people don't believe in. He works hard and finally gets his chance to prove himself. He suffers a defeat, reevaluates, regroups, gets back in the ring and is victorious, even if that victory is simply a moral one. We love these movies because that story arc is familiar and relatable to anyone who has ever struggled to reach a big goal. And we Movie Fans can't seem to get enough of these underdog / comeback stories – including those boxing movies – even if they have become almost too familiar. But then, just when we think we've seen it all before, along comes the biopic "Bleed for This" (R, 1:57).
Miles Teller stars as Vinny Pazienza (who later changed his legal name to Vinny Paz), the Rhode Island fighter who became the IBF World Lightweight Champion in 1987. Paz (as most people call him) keeps winning fights, but he's having more and more trouble making weight in his weight class and his pre-fight regimen leaves him dangerously dehydrated. When his manager, Lou Duva (Ted Levine) suggests that Paz retire, he refuses. Lou then sends him a new trainer, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), an alcoholic has-been who once trained and then was fired by Mike Tyson. Paz and Kevin decide on the extreme change of bumping Paz up two weight classes. Angelo (Ciarán Hinds), Vinny's father and cornerman, objects, but Paz comes out better than ever and wins another title – fighting as a Light Middleweight.
Then, tragedy strikes. Paz is riding in a car with his sister's fiancé when the two men get in a head-on collision with another car, breaking Paz' neck. The doctor tells Paz that he may not walk again. Paz insists that he's going to walk again – and fight again. His family and friends remain supportive, but everyone around Paz is sure that his boxing career is over. Paz, however, remains determined. Rather than allowing his doctor to fuse two vertebrae in his neck, Paz chooses to wear a metal halo to stabilize his neck as he heals. But long before the halo is scheduled to come off, Paz surreptitiously starts lifting weights in his basement. Paz soon lets Kevin in on his secret and convinces Kevin to start training him again in private, setting the stage for what many have called the greatest comeback in sports history.
"Bleed for This" is a great story that is well-written and well-directed (in both cases, by Ben Younger) and extraordinarily well-acted, but will leave some Movie Fans more conflicted than inspired. While rooting for Paz' comeback, we can't help but be distracted by the foolhardiness of the chances he took with his recovery, his long-term mobility and his life, even as he had so many people around him who loved him and would have been devastated if his stubbornness had cost him future quality of life, or, possibly life itself. Still, most people can respect Paz' relentless pursuit of what he considered a worthy goal – and we can all relate when he answers an accusation from his trainer that he doesn't know how to give up by saying, "I know exactly how to give up. You know what scares me Kev? Is that it's easy." Questions about priorities aside, the main reason to watch this movie may be the acting. Teller brings his trademark all-in physical and emotional commitment to his role. As for the rest of the cast, except for some members of Vinny's family, who are more annoying than engaging, several of the film's supporting players are award-worthy, including Eckhart, Hinds, Levine and a nearly unrecognizable Katey Segal (Vinny's mother), all of whom disappear into their roles, both physically (helped by some great hairstyling and make-up) and emotionally (giving terrific, lived-in performances). Be warned, however, that the pervasive adult language and frequent female nudity (not to mention the obvious violence) takes this one far away from "family movie" territory. All things considered, on our movie judging scorecards, this remarkable story, supplemented by fantastic individual performances, result in a split decision coming down in favor of seeing "Bleed for This". "B+"
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this