Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Fighter

The Fighter tells the true story of a very particular moment in the life of Boston-based welterweight boxer Micky Ward. In the late 90’s HBO showed up to shoot a documentary on Micky’s older brother Dickey. The documentarians showed up to shoot the once great Dickey’s return to boxing as a trainer of his younger brother Micky; however, when they saw that Micky was going nowhere with his boxing career and that Dickey was a major loser and crackhead, they changed the focus of their examination, which was eventually release as the documentary called High on Crack Street.

When it came out, Micky came to an epiphany. He either needed to get serious about his life and career or get out. His brother’s delusions about being this great boxer seemed only to exacerbate Dickey’s delusions about everything else. Micky couldn’t be that. It was time to put up or shut up.

So, Micky fires everyone in his entourage, including most members of his family, like his mother and brother. He decides to get down to business and take a shot at the international title.

I don’t need to tell you that he works hard, learns something about himself and his family he didn’t know before and does end up winning the title. While there are many good things about this movie, the story is certainly predictable and seems almost cut-and-pasted from many other sports movies we’ve seen before.

This doesn’t make it bad, however, as many other aspects of the movie really great. First, there are the performances. Mark Wahlberg is moderately good (he’s been better) but others like Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo knock it out of the park. Secondly, they do a great job of making the whole thing feel very authentic. The whole family was on set throughout the entire filming to make sure they did everything as it truly was. They shot it in the neighborhoods where it occurred. They even got the HBO crew that shot the real doc to play the crew in the movie and got HBO to shoot the fight scenes using the same equipment and set up as they did in the original fights portrayed. Not only all this, but Mark Wahlberg trained with Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach for months before shooting and since they filmed the fights as actual fights (as in, no camera tricks) the actor actually fought real boxers for the fight scenes (though the director says he told the boxers to only hit at 60%, whatever that means). The point is, the movie seemed like a very authentic look into the story. While you might guess everything that comes at you in this movie, how it comes at you makes it worth the trip.