Southpaw (Dir. Antoine Faqua) is one of the most overly predictably sports movies ever made. It takes elements of most boxing movies, mashes them up in a montage-ridden sob-story about redemption and yet somehow they managed to get a half-decent cast for this piece of emotional nonsense, and what came out of the other end was something not half bad.
Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams are cancelled out by 50 Cent and the remaining supporting cast, acting out each intimate scene with high-school drama styled precision. Most of which can be overlooked by the intensely over-styled yet highly entertaining fight sequences, and pretty much any time Jake Gyllenhaal is on-screen. Sure, he made a huge physical transformation by getting ripped to shreds after flirting with near invisibility in Nightcrawler, but he is so much more than a physique.
His absolute conviction in each scene, despite the lacklustre story is a testament to his ability as an actor to take something like this and turn it into something watchable. Perhaps it suffered somewhat by having Creed come out at around the same time, but that was a film with similar problems saved by a great leading actor.
This won’t go down as a classic, but for any boxing fan and/or Gyllenhaal fan this is worth a watch. Just be prepared to have your emotional heartstrings yanked repeatedly for almost 2 hours, while the film shouts “look at this, isn’t it sad!” over and over at you.