Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is one of the best boxers around and his lifestyle shows it. He has a beautiful wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) and a wonderful daughter (Oona Laurence) who all live together in a giant mansion. When tragedy strikes Billy and his family, he loses everything, even his daughter. With the help of Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), the owner of a local gym, Billy tries to make a comeback by getting back in the ring with his nemesis Miguel “Magic” Escobar (Miguel Gomez).
Southpaw is a very interesting movie. I believe that it has both aspect that are quite good and others that hold it back from being great. Jake Gyllenhaal does a magnificent job in his transformation into Billy Hope and steals the show. However, without him, the movie would have been a typical “fall from grace” movie that is predictable and cliché. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes predictable and cliché is what we want, but usually from a romantic comedy and not a drama about boxing. Southpaw tries to be overly dramatic and on some levels it succeeds quiet well, but I never felt like my heart stings were affected by these characters. At no point in time did I truly care what happened to these people, and that to me shows lack to depth.
I think the boxing aspect of the movie helps it immensely. The last 30 minutes of the movie is the main fight and is quite entertaining. Up until that point the movie lacked the emotion it needed to make it a great film (like Rocky). It’s hard to say that Southpaw is a “bad movie” because I truly think that it is worth watching, but it could have been so much better if it had more passion and power. Ultimately, for me, the good out weighed the bad and I enjoyed the film for what it was – rated R Rocky. Co-starring 50 Cent.
7/10 Stars – With more passion and emotion, Southpaw could have been great, but with a story full of clichés, it simply is a decent movie.