NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

The Fighter Film Review

By     get stories by email

Wahlberg Stars as Real-Life Rocky in Overcoming-the-Odds Bio-Pic

Veteran boxing fans are undoubtedly familiar with the exploits of "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), the light-welterweight pugilist from Lowell, Massachusetts best remembered for a trio of memorable matches against the late Arturo Gatti. In fact, two of the gladiators' epic battles (one in 2002, the other in 2003) were dubbed "The Fight of the Year" by Ring Magazine.

But don't expect to see any of those classic showdowns in The Fighter, an overcoming-the-odds bio-pic which culminates a couple of years earlier with Micky's first world championship bout in London against the division's then reigning titleholder, Shea Neary (Anthony Molinari). For cinematic purposes, director David O. Russell (Three Kings) was far more interested here in recreating the rampant dysfunction marking his protagonist's personal life than with merely chronicling the aspiring contender's rise inside the ring.

Consequently, the character-driven plotline proves particularly compelling, thanks to its examination of Micky's angst as he contemplates cutting the ties to the albatross hanging around his neck, namely, his smothering tight-knit family. Reminiscent of the cast of Jersey Shore, except with thick New England accents, the trashy clan is run with an iron fist by his domineering mom, Alice (Melissa Leo), a meddling matriarch who doubles as his business manager.

Meanwhile, she's directed her other son, Dicky (Christian Bale), to serve as Micky's trainer. But that hasn't been working out at all because he's a washed-up boxer with a crack pipe dream of mounting a comeback, despite a bad drug habit and regular run-ins with the law. The boys also have seven sisters, gum-smacking, couch potatoes sporting mullets who function as a veritable Greek chorus inclined to rubber stamp their momma's every wish, however unreasonable.

Micky finally summons up the gumption to do something about his family's always frustrating his potential after he falls in love at first sight with Charlene (Amy Adams), a college-educated bartender offering him the kind of encouragement and support that he really needs. The proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back arrives when he brings her home to meet the folks only to have them tarnish her name with unsubstantiated gossip designed to wreck their budding romance before it even has a chance to blossom.

That unwarranted attempt at sabotage has a salutary effect on Micky who steels his resolve to find a capable corner man to replace Dicky in order to begin his inexorable assault on the boxing crown. A fitting tribute to a real-life Rocky and Adrian featuring a quartet of inspired performances by Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for violence, sexuality, drug use and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 115 Minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures

To see a trailer for The Fighter, visit:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prairie Miller talks to Elizabeth Hurley about The Royals, and to Nina Paley, artist, filmmaker, animator, cartoonist and free culture copyright activist.
Created by Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan was first produced as a play in 1904 and adapted into an illustrated novel seven years thereafter. The enchanting fairy tale made its screen debut as a silent movie in 1924, with assorted remakes, seque
Where to Invade Next hops from one topic to another, never lets the audience know what it's about and, after two hours of cinematic navel gazing, it's unlikely they care.
Prairie Miller has a Halloween Visitation. Cult Horror Director Sam Raimi drops in, Death Of A Salesman In Yiddish and classical concert pianist Hannah Reimann
Bond is back, possibly Daniel Craig's last outing. Can SPECTRE step out of the shadow cast by SKYFALL's great acclaim. Read Kingsley's review to find out!
This race hate documentary chronicles neo-Nazi relocation to Leith, a small town in North Dakota, and what the locals did to get rid of the supremacists.


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site