Tag Archives: Training Day

Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My ratings: 4/5.

‘The more you get hit, the harder you fight’.

Well, that’s more or less the story of boxer Billy Hope’s life, both in and out of the ring.

Director Antoine Fuqua, famous for action films like Training Day (2001) and Shooter (2007) and The Equalizer (2014) comes up with a ‘boxing film’ this time. 

southpaw-poster1Not a biography (as most boxing films are) but i bet you have seen such typical sports-redemption dramas before and there is a good chance that you already have guessed the basic story-line.

An arrogant man who cannot control his rage but life puts him in a tough spot and teaches him to be humble and take control of his destiny. And guess what – he eventually becomes a better man both professionally and personally!

Absolutely nothing unique in the script and regarding the all blood & sweat boxing showdown – we have seen better in films like Raging Bull (1980), Cinderella Man (2005) and even the Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky versions.

So now the big question is WHAT exactly is there in this 124 min film Southpaw that still holds our attention? HOW does it still manage to impress us?

southpaw-poster3The combination of Antoine Fuqua‘s direction and the music of James Horner (RIP) – Yes may be. But the real answer lies in the brilliant performance of the entire cast, especially Jake Gyllenhaal

After his outstanding role in Nightcrawler as the skinny psychopathic crime journalist, Jake Gyllenhaal has now transformed himself into this all-muscle, super-fit, left-handed boxing champion Billy Hope.

The rage and the darkness in the character, the helplessness and the self-destruction, the empathy and love for his family and friends, the will to survive – Bill Hope is one complex character and no body could have portrayed him as good as Jake Gyllenhaal.

By the way, Eminem was supposed to play the ‘Southpaw’ and then Ryan GoslingBradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner were all considered for this role!

southpaw-posterAnd then there is the ever-beautiful Rachel McAdams (wife of Billy Hope); their chemistry in the beginning supports the entire film. Forest Whitaker as the teacher-figure gives his best. Even the child actor Oona Laurence belts out a terrific emotional performance. 

50 Cent acts and Eminem sings!

Southpaw is the best redemption drama of this year, specially recommended for the boxing-film lovers.

It’s a perfect example of how you can take the same old concept and shape it into something awesome with sensible direction and sheer brilliant performances.

 

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The Equalizer (2014)

My Ratings: 2.5/5.

Training Day was the film for which Denzel Washington bagged his best actor Oscar in 2002. The film was directed by Antoine Fuqua.

The director-actor duo waited for more than a decade to again work together and now it’s time for The Equalizer.

This film is based on a television series with the same title. It’s about an ex-CIA operative who helps ordinary people in trouble by using his special CIA-training skills. 

The film The Equalizer maintains the same basic plot and i must say the first half, at least the first 30-40 minutes of the film is simply awesome.

It starts slow, develops the character of Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) in style. A widower with a mysterious past, a present steady job and a smiling face – always trying to be out of trouble.

But then he befriends a young Russian girl named Teri a.k.a Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz) and soon enough she gets into trouble and Robert McCall is out to avenge her and also to save her from further trouble.

What follows is a chain of gruesome, bloody action; the Russian heavily-tattooed gang versus the one-man-army Robert McCall. And it just goes on and on till there is nobody left to fight with, absolutely no surprises, a very predictable ending.  It’s so predictable that in a way it kind of surprises you!

The characters loose their purpose and it’s all about an endless series of fights and vicious deaths. Denzel’s character turns out to be a superhero and looses it’s believability.

Beyond interval the film looses all it’s charm; it simply stretches on, goes from bad to worse and by the end of the film you are happy just to get out of the cinema hall alive.

Denzel Washington’s acting skills are your only hope, even the Russian Mafia head Teddy is superbly played by Marton Csokas.

Good cinematography by Mauro Fiore.

The Equalizer could have been much more interesting if the protagonist was a bit more human; and if the editor wouldn’t have slept during his working hours.

If you are an action freak then only you will enjoy The Equalizer. Because at the end of the day the whole film is a blur except a few well shot action sequences.

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