(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Hands of Stone is an interesting biopic of Roberto Duran that dealt with different themes of his life, but the fight scenes are underwhelming for me to enjoy this movie!!!
This movie intrigued from the trailer. Not only does it have a great cast, but I was interesting in the story of the boxer Roberto Duran. His infamous fight where he said, “No Mas,” is still talked about today as a big boxing moment in history. I was interested to see what really led up to that point in his career, and the after effects of that famous moment. Also, to learn more about his life which I really don’t know about, because he was a little before my time when I started to become a fan of boxing. So for this movie, I was all in, but sometimes you can’t expect another Rocky!!!
What I Like: The casting for this film was great.Edgar Ramirez as Roberto Duran really captured his essence and cockiness as a fighter. I never realized how cocky he really was, but Ramirez showed it with a lot of enthusiasm. I also enjoyed seeing Robert De Niro playing his trainer, Ray Arcel. I liked hearing him talking about strategy and having a psychological advantage over the opponent. I thought the whole combing the hair of the boxer between each round to annoy the opponent because of the fighter comes in looking good even though he laid a hurt on him was pure genius. Even Usher Raymond, who played Sugar Ray Leonard, held his own playing the role. I wasn’t to high on this casting choice, but he gave Sugar Ray some justice. The story dealt with different themes in Duran’s life. His struggles of being poor as a kid and working his way up in the sport of boxing in his country of Panama, which is cliched, but it was executed well. The theme of being a political hero and role model for his country during a time where the US was hated for owning the Panama Canal and refusing to give it up to Panama. The theme of him being cocky after his win against Sugar Ray Leonard, and led him to a life of partying that led to his downfall in his career, friends, and family. The theme of being hated after the “No Mas” fight and betraying his country. Lastly, the theme of resurgence in his comeback. All this themes were intertwined to make an interesting story, and I liked the fact that his trainer, Arcel, was there for him for the most part of his life doing his best to keep his behavior in check. In that regard, it was executed pretty well.
The So So: The fights were up and down. I liked how thrilling it was with the action, and the between rounds talk between Duran and Arcel were greatly dramatic and occasionally hilarious. However, I didn’t like the way director Jonathan Jackubowicz executed some of the fights. Some scenes seem too very Jason Bourne type of action with the shaky cameras and the quick editing. To me, it got me confused on what is going on in the fight, and when Sugar Way pulled his famous windmill fake jab, it happened so quick, I couldn’t react to it in time. I thought some of the execution could of been a lot better. It also lead me to what I didn’t like about these fights.
What I Didn’t Like: The “No Mas” fight did have a lot of good build up before the fight with all the politics and craziness going on for Duran. I was excited for this fight which it to be climatic. However, the “No Mas,” moment in the fight was under executed and very underwhelming. For a moment that is always remembered in boxing lore, I didn’t feel like it was a big moment in the movie, but you barely heard him say these famous words. It really disappointed me, and I was underwhelmed which is not a good thing. Also, the film tried to express troublesome moments in Arcel’s life like him dealing with the mob, and reuniting with his estranged daughter, but as the movie progressed, it was only an after thought.
Overall: For all the boxing fans, it is a decent movie to watch and learn about a famous boxer. However, if you’re expecting a Rocky type of film, you will be disappointed. At least it was interesting with the story, and shows how one guy can start from the bottom up, and be a an iconic hero (also disappointment) for his country. I just wish they executed the fights better, and not feel so underwhelmed after a fight. Usually I feel hyped after these movies, but in this case, my hype said, “No Mas!!!”
Rating: 3.5 Stars
(Sidenote: Everybody Wants Some!!- I really enjoyed the casting for this comedy film set in the early 80’s. I loved the interactions between each character who are teammates for a collegiate baseball team, and the hilarious and sometimes thought provoking remarks they make throughout the film. The chemistry was top notch between each character, and I enjoyed seeing the different personalities each person had that played a good role for the film. It was like watching an early 80’s version of Animal House dealing with college life and partying. My only gripe is that the film really didn’t have any main point to its story. It was just a progression of starting a new year with your teammates and getting used to the new people coming in, and having some fun before classes start. With that said, it is a lot of fun to watch, and you won’t be bored!!!
Rating: 4 Stars)