MMA-centric Warrior once perfectly blurred the lines between predictable fluff and hard-hitting emotional heft. Southpaw treads the same path with less punches on target.
This is a redemption movie and so finds itself succumbing to tired genre tropes – the training montages, too-old-for-this-shit retired trainer, and run-down gym. Throughout its 123 minutes, you know what’s coming around each corner.
Despite the formulaic material the cast perform admirably, with Gyllenhaal’s monolithic display as Billy Hope showing an actor at his peak. Flanked by the ever-dependable Whitaker and newcomer Laurence, the trio add heart to a script erring towards cheesy schmaltz.
Southpaw is the film equivalent of a Quattro Formaggi pizza, enjoyable to those with the right palette but lacking the necessary ingredients to truly dazzle.
CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson
DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua
WRITER: Kurt Sutter
SYNOPSIS: Boxer Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) turns to trainer Tick Willis (Whitaker) to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.