ENTERTAINMENT: “Southpaw” Knocks Out Competition

(Photo courtesy imdb.com)

(Photo courtesy imdb.com)

By Catie Rice – Staff Reporter

The action-packed boxing thriller “Southpaw” hit theaters everywhere July 24. Antoine Fuqua, who also directs The Equalizer,” impressively directs this edge-of-the-seat film.

The movie starts off with Billy “The Great” Hope, who is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, as the reigning junior middleweight boxing champion. He lives a great life with a loving wife and daughter and a long, undefeated career.

However, at the height of his career, Billy goes through the worst time of his life when an accident involving his wife takes her life. His life begins to crumble. With no money, a custody battle against the state for his daughter, and the onset of depression, Hope soon finds an unlikely savior in Tick Willis. Willis, played by Forest Whitaker, was a former fighter, but now trains the city’s toughest amateur boxers. With his future on the line, Hope fights to get his life back together.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who has also starred in “Nightcrawler,” “Everest,” and “Enemy,” successfully plays the role of Billy Hope. Gyllenhaal was invested in his role, making him the best fit for this character which made the movie very emotional and interesting. The boxing scenes of the movie were action- packed and made the viewers sit on the edge of their seat.

“I knew nothing about boxing when I started, really, and I knew that in order for me to pull it off in any way, I was just gonna have to learn how to do it — and when I set my mind to something, I just won’t stop until I do it,” Gyllenhaal said.

The big boxing scenes were impressively re-enacted. In one match, Gyllenhaal takes several hard hits, including an injury to his eye that worries his wife. Gyllenhaal did all his own fight scenes and rounds were recorded in the full three-minute intervals.

Hope’s wife, Maureen, played by Rachel McAdams, was only in the movie for a short time but added to the movie’s drama. McAdams has previously starred in “The Notebook” and the classic  “Mean Girls,” both of which help her play this role really well. As the loving wife that tragically dies in the arms of her husband, she creates many emotions for the viewers.

Although there was a powerful and intense climax where Hope starts to find his bearings once again, the ending felt rushed. You follow Hope through his training, working like he never has before to regain his former title and feel rushed into the final scenes.

This movie created a roller coaster of emotions for moviegoers and they won’t be able to take their eyes off the screen. This film appeals to anyone who likes action-packed movies.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

(Some information courtesy hollywoodreporter.com)

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