By Brandon Engel
From Rocky to Raging Bull, boxing has historically provided filmmakers with story fodder. Whether the production is based on a boxer’s personal struggles, relentless competitiveness or other ambitions, moviegoers who love the sport are generally very eager to wait in line for premier shows. Boxing film enthusiasts may be excited to know there are a number of films slated for release in 2015 that will help preserve this cinematic tradition.
Hands of Stone
The title of this film is based on a nickname given to a world-renowned boxing champion, Roberto Duran. As a gritty, nonstop competitor, Duran was a fearless fighter who fought with a conviction to destroy foes in the ring. Hands of Stone will cleverly depict Duran’s journey from an impoverished setting to a lifestyle filled with notoriety. The film will feature Edgar Ramirez as Duran, and Robert De Niro (the Raging Bull himself) as Duran’s trainer, Ray Arcel. The production takes place in Panama as the film’s director, Jonathan Jakubowicz, highlights historic moments in Duran’s life. To become the world champion, Duran had to beat Sugar Ray Leonard. The fights between Duran and Leonard are among the greatest moments in the history of boxing.
As a boxing film that contains testaments of a fighter’s will power, Southpaw is based on a tragic loss that motivates a boxer to turn his life around. The film reflects high points as well as low points in the boxer’s life that requires personal sacrifices and discipline. A charismatic display of pride and determination are shown in the boxer’s attempt to prove that he is more than capable of providing for his daughter. Southpaw is a brilliant creation from Antoine Fuqua. The film includes a host of stars such as Jake Gyllenhaal (who underwent an incredible physical transformation for the film), Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Miguel Gomez.
Rocky is basically synonymous with “boxing movie.” It was a critical and commercial juggernaut upon its initial release, and it has remained in the spotlight thanks to Netflix and countless TV showings through Direc TV networks. Creed is expected to connect with fans in a very emotional manner as it is a spinoff of the Rocky film series. The plot showcases a young boxer who is the grandson of the hard-hitting Apollo Creed. Fans will recall unforgettable scenes from the Rocky films where Apollo Creed and Sylvester Stallone battled in the boxing ring. With hard fought championships, gratitude and a mutual level of respect, the two icons became lifelong friends. Stallone lends his support to his pal by agreeing to train Apollo’s grandson, Michael B. Jordan in the movie Creed.
The directors for Southpaw, Creed and Hands of Stone include real life struggles that a boxer might encounter on the road to success. Surreal moments that reflect triumphant encounters as well as emotional defeats are attributes that have historically elevated boxing films into classical productions.