Southpaw is a film about a highly successful boxer, Billy” The Great” Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), living a seemingly perfect life until tragedy strikes and his long time coach and friend (50 Cent) decides to leave him. Help comes from an unlikely source: a trainer of a rundown gym named Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker). With his new coach’s guidance and counsel, Billy tries to regain what he has lost and seek redemption.
The director, Antoine Fuqua, and screenwriters, Kurt Sutter and Richard Wenk, both have proven their mantle before in their previous works. The fighting scenes are superbly done and look realistic all the while being somehow distinctive from other boxing movies. Outside of the action, things may get less thrilling but it manages to keep the viewer engrossed. The lead actor, Jake Gyllenhaal packs an exceptionally solid performance in his role, feeling almost natural and his acting is perhaps the best part of the movie.
The protagonist might be hitting with everything he got but the film does not. The script simply does no justice to Jake’s acting. Most of it feels like it was derived from other movies rather than from real life stories and is plagued with cliches. Other characters do not bring much to the table and are forgettable.
How is prize fighting going to help him win back the custody of his daughter? Was Rita Ora’s cameo as a junkie some sort of a screen test in the film or something? Why was Tick Willis wasting his time at that rundown gym?
Jake Gyllenhaal, just like his character, gives everything to his profession, dishing out everything he got and if it was not for his acting, the film would not have gotten the level of success it did. Even still, the movie is enjoyable. Just do not question the logic in the plot.
Photo credit: Southpaw film