Bronx native Jaden Miller, 24, could've had a better life, but fighting within a prestigious school cost his scholarship and an expulsion. Now a high school dropout working from job to job, evicted with nowhere to call home, he decides to train as a boxer under discredited trainer Duane Taylor. The local PBS station picks up on the story and wants to document Jaden's progress as he becomes slated to take on the champion, James Burchard, an undefeated boxer of less-than-appealing character. Jaden's mom, Jada (ailing from a heart condition), sees no good in this, as it was fighting that so far ruined his life, but Duane sees within Jaden an it factor that could make him great.Written by
When Stallone did Rocky I, you would think from the hype at the time that he invented the boxing film.
No he did not. He re-invented it. Boxing films have been around forever and the first rule of a good boxing film is to connect with the audience by allowing them to "grow" with the protagonist, to improve from fight to fight.
And that was the first rule the producers broke.
Given the minimal amount of screen time alloted to the "early" fights for the protagonist/hero (in some cases just 2 seconds per fight) you may have thought that these were real cable fights where the producers did not have the rights to rebroadcast. But no this is a fiction film and they could have made those fights real. They did not.
Frankly, once you break that key rule, once you have no connection between star and viewer, there is no turning back.
But, almost out of perversity, the producers broke another rule and that amazes me. They cast two actors who look alike for both roles in the ring, hero and villain.
So, and I cannot emphasize the bizarreness of this enough, not only does the audience have no connection with the hero in the final fight, but sometimes you can't tell which actor is playing which role.
And the final rule? Good choreography in the fights. The audience should feel every punch. Here the audience only feels cheated.
A rarity. A boxing film that, like a bad boxer, starts out weak. And then just gets weaker.
Of course, the fact that the film is a "vanity" film -- the same guy is the writer director and star -- may be a factor. But what do I know -- I am just a reviewer.
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