Movie News

Capone declares David O. Russell's THE FIGHTER one of 2010's best, and one of the best sports movies in recent memory!!!

Published at: Nov. 30, 2010, 7:26 p.m. CST

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. Sometimes, when you don't expect something to be truly great, it goes and surprises the hell out of you and turns out to be just that. Like many of you, I'd seen the trailer for director David O. Russell's THE FIGHTER, his first film in far too long from the make of SPANKING THE MONKEY, FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, I HEART HUCKABEES, and his previous best work THREE KINGS. The two latter films star Mark Wahlberg, who has done arguably much of his best work under Russell's direction. But THE FIGHTER is an entirely different animal, possibly because this project has been Wahlberg's passion for the better part of the last decade. Not only is this the best performance in the actor's career, but the film itself easily ranks among the best of the year. There's a good chance you're going to be hearing me say that about a couple more films before the end of the year, for obvious reasons, but THE FIGHTER is so nakedly raw as a narrative and stylistically flawless that it's virtually impossible to escape its brutal grip. Based on the lives of two real-life half-brothers, THE FIGHTER tells the story of Micky Ward (Wahlberg), a stepping-stone boxer through the mid- to late 1980s, who thinks he might actually have a shot at something great in the 1990s. Living in the working-class neighborhood of Lowell, Massachusetts, Micky is horribly mismanaged by his mother Alice (the phenomenal Melissa Leo) and trained by his unreliable half-brother Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). Micky is time and again humiliated in the ring after being paired with fighters way above his weight class and taking some real pummelings. After his latest embarrassment of a match, Ward makes the decision to take some time off and determines if he even wants to continue down his path, and it's in this phase that he meets Charlene (Amy Adams), a one-time party girl and currently a bartender, who agrees to go on a date with Micky without much convincing. Charlene might be the only person who has Micky's real interests at heart, and while she does not think he should quit boxing, she does encourage him to seek new management and a new trainer, which clearly doesn't sit well with the Ward/Eklund clan, which includes an endless supply of sisters and half-sisters. Meanwhile, Dickie has an HBO film crew following him, he says, because he's staging a boxing comeback of his own that the crew is documenting. Dickie was once a profession boxer who once knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard (some say Leonard tripped), and he serves as an inspiration to the younger Micky and taught him boxing fundamentals that he used throughout his career. But the film crew is actually following Dickie around because he's a former local hero turned crackhead. It's no secret that Bale is a terrific actor, but his performance as Dickie could not have been achieved by any other actor--pure and simple. His combination of addict fast talk--loaded with excuses and lies--is jumbled in with his clear devotion to his brother's career. Of course, none of this stops him from letting Micky down time and time again, and the family is no help because even though they all know what he's into, no one will talk about or even admit that he's a junkie. I have such a clear memory of seeing HBO's HIGH ON CRACK STREET documentary featuring three crack addicts in Lowell, because it was the first time I really saw what crack does to people both emotionally and physically. Bale's Dickie embodies all of awful damage this drug renders on a person's mind, body and soul, but director Russell almost refuses to let us feel pity for pity for the man. It doesn't take long for Dickie to land up in jail, forcing Micky to get another trainer whether he wants one or not, so he uses the opportunity to cut his mother out of his career as well. And under this new regime and using new techniques along with the ones his brother taught him, Micky starts to improve as a boxer and begins winning fights most didn't think he could. Charlene is an excellent one-woman support system, but Adams hardly plays her as a background player. She goes nose to nose with Alice and even exchanges blows with Micky's sisters, who think she's a skank and "MTV girl," which apparently means she's wild. Adams plays Charlene as a fully loaded pistol, who cowers before no one, and isn't afraid to scrap. She's also hopelessly sexy, as one would expect an MTV girl to be. But the film's real secret weapon (as opposed to Bale, who is the not-so-secret weapon) is Melissa Leo, who has had an impressive second half of 2010 between CONVICTION and WELCOME TO THE RILEYS, both of which feature her in very different roles than Alice, a woman convinced she's a little better than others because of the middling success of her sons. As Micky's manager, her only skills as a business negotiator are screaming and ultimatums. When Micky's new team makes him ban her from the gym, it's not difficult to understand why, and Leo is mind-blowingly great in this role. It becomes clear that Micky may be attracted to Charlene because she's got a lot of Alice's fire. One of the style choices that Russell makes that I wholly approve of is how he handles the boxing matches themselves. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure we only see extended versions of three of Micky bouts. But rather than place the camera in the ring, weaving around and between the boxers, Russell does something I hadn't expected. He allows us to watch the fights on TV, relying on HBO or ESPN cameras to show the fight the way most of us view them, complete with the commentators' voices, and shots of the crowd, the corner men, the family. The end result is some of the most realistic-looking boxing I've seen in films in recent years. But Russell only does this for Micky's televised fights; some of his lesser matches, he offers up a bit more style, slow-mo, close-ups. The idea is so simple that it shouldn't be as effective as it is, but I found myself incredibly wrapped up in the contests as a result. Eventually, Micky gets a title shot, and it's in these where Wahlberg brings us his A-game as an actor. His love of this man, this family, and this story are all over THE FIGHTER, but when he is faced with the very real possibility of seeing his dreams come true, he almost slips. At this point Dickie is released from prison a very different man. He's nine months clean, in great physical shape, and ready to be the steady hand he never was for Micky. Clearly wanting his brother in his corner, Micky nearly throws away months of positive work and achievements, but his faith in Dickie is unshaken, for better or worse and Wahlberg embodies this so clearly and confidently. Micky is a man with confidence issues, mother issues, and a lifetime of feeling like he's second best to the man he has most looked up to since he was a kid. And it's all there on Wahlberg's face--the uncertainty, the doubt, the fear. I'm still partial to what Wahlberg accomplished in BOOGIE NIGHTS, but his performance in THE FIGHTER might be his greatest technical achievement as an actor. And on top of all these accolades, THE FIGHTER is engrossing entertainment and a triumphant underdog story that is certainly one of the greatest sports movies in my lifetime. For hours after seeing the film, my brain was battling itself trying to figure out which performance I loved the most or what my favorite moments were. I eventually gave in and realized that I loved every second of and every performance in THE FIGHTER, from Wahlberg, Bale, and Leo to the wonderfully scary ladies with the out-of-control hair who played the Ward sisters. The film is as inspirational as it is heartbreaking, as tough to watch at times as it is one of the most watchable films I've seen all year. Prepare to have the earth move under your feet.
-- Capone capone@aintitcool.com Follow Me On Twitter



Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:14 a.m. CST

    Good to hear.

    by slimballs

    Really looking forward to it.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:17 a.m. CST

    Three Kings sucked mightily

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    That movie is way too overrated...

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:19 a.m. CST

    It's probably a good flick...

    by Toruk_Makto

    But I'll probably wind up waiting for it to hit the rental circuit. It has that 'great Sunday afternoon flick' vibe to me.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Love to read the talkback from this...

    by LowDevil

    You geeks dont even know who Micky Ward is and if you do, you would only remember the Gatti fight.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:35 a.m. CST

    You know God has a sense of humor...

    by Rocco Curioso

    when He creates a world that one days sanctions a movie that has His Baleness playing second fiddle to a no-talent thug like Marky Mark.<P>Or, it's a sure sign of the impending Apocalypse. Could go either way.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:53 a.m. CST

    i really hope im proved wrong...

    by kidkombo

    and this review really gives me hope it will but.....i dunno...every single element of the story just sounds cliched as fuck. sounds like the plot has been cobbled together with bits and pieces of every other boxing movie from the past 30 years.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:53 a.m. CST

    yeah, but did you *like* it?

    by mojination

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:57 a.m. CST

    BETTER THAN DIRK DIGGLER???

    by RedHorseVector

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Whalberg was awful in the Happening

    by chien_sale

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:19 a.m. CST

    Uncharted

    by D o o d

    Can't wait to see O' Russels adaption of the game. This could be the first really good video game to movie!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Okay, Rocco Curioso,

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    If your remarkably ignorant comments on the Pixar "It gets better" thread hadn't already convinced me that you are an idiot, this would. Anyone who still refers to Mark Wahlberg as Marky Mark and dismisses his acting ability after his performances in Boogie Nights, Three Kings and The Departed (among others) is truly retarded. When he most likely gets an Oscar nod this year for this performance (which I've heard nothing but raves about), you still won't get it, as you try to shake the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations" out of your head. Moron.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:30 a.m. CST

    And chien_sale,

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    You're right - Wahlberg was awful in The Happening - but so was everyone else. And plenty of great actors have been in shitty movies. That's what happens when you're under the supervision of a director who has completely lost his mind.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:36 a.m. CST

    the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    by D o o d

    you know as eloquent as your point is towards Rocco Curioso. I feel you do no service to yourself by calling another TB an 'Idiot' and a 'Moron'.<p>Don't forget that others can have opinions of their own, regardless of how abhorrent they may seem to you!<p>Not having a go at you bro', just sayin' that you made your point well without the abuse.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:39 a.m. CST

    Capone,

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    Once again, another great review. But you're really slipping on the spell check. This thing was almost as hard to read as one of Harry's posts, as were your previous two (Tangled and Burlesque).

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:41 a.m. CST

    D o o d

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    Point taken, but if you had read his unbelievably hateful, abusive comments towards gays and minorities (among others) on the "It gets better" thread the other day, you might have lost your patience, too. Just sayin'.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Capone, Dickie Ecklund didn't knock Sugar Ray out.

    by vic twenty

    He soundly lost his one-shot title fight.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:45 a.m. CST

    Showing the fights like a tv broadcast

    by TheMcflyFarm

    was done, at least in part, in Rocky Balboa, but everyone acts like it's wholly original and genius here. Am I missing something?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:55 a.m. CST

    I hated Million Dollar Baby

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    I understood what Eastwood was trying to do - show the other side of the underdog boxing story - but I found it unnecessarily and relentlessly bleak and repetitive. I mean, did the movie have to go on for another hour documenting every lurid detail of her descent? I felt it would have been a much better movie with a bit less nihilism and a bit more restraint.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3 a.m. CST

    Amateurism does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    TheMcflyFarm, yes ROCKY BALBOA did the fight 'as if televised' - maybe Capone didnt see that one?<p> This sounds brilliant though. Bale once again brings it. Amateur hour is over.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3:01 a.m. CST

    BrainDrain,

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    While I disagree (obviously) on Million Dollar Baby, I agree on Rocky Balboa. If you just ignore Rocky III, IV & V, you've got one of the greatest movie trilogies of all-time.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3:35 a.m. CST

    dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    by D o o d

    I can understand that Million Dollar Baby isn't for everyone but it's fantastic because of it's bleakness. For every one successful boxer out there, there are thousands who's lives are tragic. I think it was key to show the real downsides to a career like boxing (as did The Wrestler for Wrestling) and to show it in a manner where she didn't even receive fame before she was crippled. Then there was the complications arising from that injury and then her inevitable demise at the end.<p>I get that you don't like it, but if anything, that film was true to its point. I can just imagine the studios having a fit after they saw the final cut of that movie!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3:42 a.m. CST

    Sly did the HBO thing for Rocky VI

    by zillabeast

    I thought it worked out nicely there. I look forward to this.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:02 a.m. CST

    the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    by DrRumpledink

    You can't ignore Rocky II. Mr T won't let you, sucker!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:02 a.m. CST

    ROCKY III ^

    by DrRumpledink

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:14 a.m. CST

    WRESTLER does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    I hope THE FIGHTER's better than THE WRESTLER.<p> That flick had strong performances but the whole affair was a little too downbeat and low key for the Dojo to truly enjoy.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 5:38 a.m. CST

    I called it weeks ago: Wahlberg is going to be N. Drake

    by Rebel Scumb

    Comingsoon.net has an interview with him where Mark Wahlberg confirms he will be drake, and that David O Russell and him are wooing Deniro to play Drake's father, and Pesci to play his uncle. No mention at all of Ilana, Sully or any characters that were actually in the game. Hopefully they don't ruin one of the few videogames that would actually adapt well into a movie. Wahlberg is definitely not my first choice for Drake. I think Chris Pine would of been better.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 5:41 a.m. CST

    the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    by Rebel Scumb

    I agree about Million dollar baby, but isn't it written by Paul Haggis? Pretty much everything he's involved in is crap.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Flirting with Disaster is still David O. Russell's best film

    by Griefo

    but, I'm really looking forward to this.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Why do you people have such hang-ups with more downbeat movies?

    by AsimovLives

    Not every movie has to be a disney happy-fiest, right? When 90% of movies made are all sugarcoated happy-fiests, it's kinda malicious to complain about the very few which have the balls to go bleaker, real and deeper.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Bale is a terrific actor?

    by mojoman69

    hmmm, jury's still out on that one. His growling, speech impediment Batman makes me cringe. I like wahlberg, although he has a lot to pay penance for like the Happening and the god awful POTA remake. Hope this puts him back in the form he showed in Boogie Nights

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Interesting...

    by NightArrows

    I didn't know the story of Mickey Ward and how he fought above his weight class to obviously get his ass kicked. It's ironic as I use him in Fight Night 3 when I play as Ali and beat the living shit out of Ward. That includes kneeing him in the face when he drops after a knock-down stomach punch and beating his face so badly both eyes close up! Awesome!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 7:15 a.m. CST

    I really like O Russell's Work...

    by WeylandYutani

    right from Spanking the Monkey. I Heart Huckabees left me a little cold but other than that he has done some fantastic work. <P> However, there have been so many on set incidences of him being a first class asshole that I would never want to meet him. I work in TV news so every so often I get a chance to interview notable filmmakers and usually it turn out to be perk of the job, but I have no interest in meeting O Russell. I appreciate that he has made some outstanding film. But that is where my interest ends with his work. I don't want to hear about his process or hear about his war stories. A shame because he is a very talented man. I am a little surprised he still gets work honestly. My understanding is that his films do OK, but are not big revenue generators for studios. Add to that his reputation and you'd think studios would stay away.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 7:38 a.m. CST

    do they show any of his legendary matches with arturo gatti?

    by The Great One

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 7:41 a.m. CST

    mojoman69

    by AsimovLives

    Bale is indeed a great actor, and one needs to be incredibly obtuse to not understand why.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:05 a.m. CST

    D.Vader

    by ricarleite2

    is he back yet?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Wahlberg has never really grown as an actor.

    by fiester

    "Boogie Nights" was a revelation because no one expected anything from the former 'roided out rapper, but he's never really shown any substantive acting chops since in any role. In fact, in many roles (The Happening, I Heart Huckabees) he's been downright cringworthy to watch. In a lot of ways he's still coasting on the surprise turn in Boogie Nights.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:43 a.m. CST

    No Gatti fights

    by Wilfy Fredericks

    film ends with his victory over Shea Neary for the WBU belt. It's not one of the big sanctioning bodies so there's debate over how much of an authentic world title it was - but obviously it was still a big achievement for Micky Ward and led to the legendary figths with the late great Gatti. And historical accuracy never stopped a supposedly true-life film from being good anyway. The reviews for this have been pretty good all round so far.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Best way to show the fight

    by backside9

    I've been waiting for a film to try filming a sports scene like its shown on TV for a while now. Any movie I've seen it in I've really enjoyed. For Love of the Game did it in little bits and pieces which was really well done but I thought that it might have seemed better only because Vin Scully was calling the game in the movie. I'd listen to Scully read a menu that's how awesome he is. I think it will be interesting to see the reenacted version from the HBO point of view. I'm hoping they have Lampley calling the fight during the film and Lederman jumping in all excited between rounds. Since I'm a boxing fan I know I'll like it but I hope it works well for the people who don't follow or watch boxing. I really want this to work. I believe the movie doesn't include the Gatti. I think the movie goes up to the Shea Neary fight which was a great fight! The Gatti fight was well after Ward had proven he was a real champion.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:56 a.m. CST

    I knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard

    by DarfurOnTheRocks2

    ....... In Fight Night 4 on the xbox

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 9:08 a.m. CST

    I can't read your reviews b/c they are summaries

    by moorE12

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 9:16 a.m. CST

    So surreal

    by Mr.Stiggs

    I grew up with Mark and Donnie (I lived one street over from them in Dorchester, MA). Their music career was one thing but it's so strange to hear people add "Academy Award Nominee" (and potential winner)to Mark's name. Looking forward to this film (I was a Ward fan).

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Melissa Leo was awesome in Homicide,

    by IG_89

    as was the entire cast - Ned Beatty, I'm looking at you, you magnificent bastard. Having said that, I agree with kidkombo - this film doesn't seem to have a single original idea.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 9:52 a.m. CST

    "Be scientific, douchebag...!"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Great, ANOTHER boxing movie...

    by ryderdvs

    Really? Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Great White Hope, Rocky I-VI, Raging Bull, Gladiator (1992), Diggstown, The Great White Hype, Play It To The Bone, Million Dollar Baby, Cinderella Man, blah, blah, blah. Who give a Fuck anymore? Especially if it has Christian Stale in it. Fucking hate that overrated, pretentious douchebag.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Rebel Scum: no fuckin way?! Really?!

    by UltraTron

    That's who's playing drake?! Why not the guy who plays him? Not like I'd see the movie or anything. It couldn't possibly compete with the video game. Maybe I'd put Raiders of Uncharted 2. Maybe. That's how fucking good uncharted 2 was

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    over

    by UltraTron

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:24 a.m. CST

    OK asimov lives

    by mojoman69

    Explain why he is a great actor? He was shit in terminator salvation( but then the movie was aslo shit) and he is shit as Batman. the only notable role I saw him in was american psycho which was an over the top Pacino-like performance. Not to mention his behind the scenes rants which show how unprofessional he really is.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Christian F. Bale

    by masteryoda007

    ....welcome back.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Harsh Times, Rescue Dawn, The Machinist,

    by masteryoda007

    American Psycho, The Prestige, Empire of the Fucking Sun and now the Fighter to name but a few of Mr Bales stand-out performances. Oh, and there is nobody more "professional" than Christian "Fucking" Bale.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:56 a.m. CST

    wow, people bagging on Bale's acting?

    by imagegod

    you folks need to see a few more movies, jesus. Machinist alone is his get out of jail free card.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Reign of Fire kicks ass too

    by Sloppy2nds

    Bale and Gerard Butler are pretty good in this movie.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Harsh Times

    by imagegod

    fucking Rocks hard. Bale is fantastical in that. BALE FOR PRESIDENT!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:06 a.m. CST

    The fight scenes

    by Bass Ackwards

    Everyone seems to be talking about them filming the fight scenes as if they were televised. Didnt they digitally insert Whalberg into the actual televised fights?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:06 a.m. CST

    This movie....

    by ConeSpinner

    Will most likely fizzle at the box office and someone will get a lame oscar nod for being famous and associated with it. These are the kinds of movies no one actually wants to see, but people tell you how "moving" or "inspirational" it is, like Million Dollar Baby (which I was bored to death by, but I do love other Eastwood films like Gran Torino, Letters from Iwo Jima and Unforgiven).

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    So...I'm guessing Josh Gad is NOT in this movie!?

    by Admiral Akwelches

    ;) I love Capone. Toxicity is what it be and you called it what it be.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:10 p.m. CST

    First!

    by juiceboy66

    Whatever. Fuck you.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:17 p.m. CST

    "...in recent memory" is a very relative phrase...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...did I post that already?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    ...the first half of MILLION DOLLAR BABY was great...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...the second half was like a parody of a Sad Story. By the time she chews her tongue off, only FlickaPoo's stunned amazement kept me from laughing in the theater.<P> By the end I was expecting Clint Eastwood to put her out of her misery with a shotgun to the head...only to fail and leave her a garbling human lower jaw...like that Brittney Spears episode of SOUTH PARK.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Sloppy2nds

    by D o o d

    Reign of Fire was Bale and McConaughey. Butler was nowhere near the scene.<p>forgiveable mistake although I'm sure McConaughey would be pissed that you mistook him for butler!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Don't Smoke Crack or Meth

    by Waspo

    My dad was addicted to Crack and it shaped my entire life. His mistakes made me the man that I am today, and I've seen what drugs and alcohol do to people, and movies like this are hard to watch, but I'm glad that this movie turned out well.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    I know Bale USED to do good work,

    by Wyndam Earle

    but what has he done for us l a t e l y. badabadabada. dom dom dom dom dom dom dom dom dom dom dom. used to go to the moview almost every night, watchin him til I thought I'd lose my eyes. now it seems his movie feet are always on my couch, good thing I act or else we'd be bored to death. DOM DOM DOM DOM DOM. What has, Bale done for us lately?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:52 p.m. CST

    sung to the tune of

    by Wyndam Earle

    whathaveudone4melately by the incomperable, Janet-I-now-resemble-my-brother-more-than-ever-Jackson.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:54 p.m. CST

    sorry but if you can see them acting, then its not good acting.

    by mojoman69

    I can see Bale acting almost everytime. But its a moot point. Hollyweird loves him right now so he will get prime parts. its like Jackman. He gets some great parts but the guy cant act.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Some of you really confuse me...

    by andrew coleman

    So now it's cool to bash on Christian Bale? The Batman movies suck? Talkbackers are pretty pathetic. Once someone becomes famous it's go time and that's when "they suck" Bale is pretty much one of the better actors out there. Rescue Dawn... If you can't respect his performance in that movie then your stance on films does not exist. Also Million Dollar Baby was a huge hit I don't understand why only here on AICN do adult movies get bashed so hard. What do you want movies for kids 24/7?... Oh that's right most of you are probably 13 and can't even get into movies like this, that or you don't understand them. And D o o d Reign of Fire had Bale, McConaughey and Gerard Butler. Owned.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:15 p.m. CST

    "Wahlberg brings us his A-game"???

    by Azazyel

    He can act? Doesn't he just play Mark Wahlberg? Really bad news about uncharted. He just doesn't have to charisma to play Drake.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Say Hello to your Mother for me...

    by mr dark

    I look forward to seeing this...Wahlburg can be great with the right material as can Bale..I wouldn't be surprised to see them both up for awards from the buzz this film is generating..

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Seriously, no Gatti fights?

    by cyberuck

    The Ward-Gatti fights are some of the best in the history of boxing. They are truly Rocky fight scenes in real life - a lot of blocking punches with your face and what not. I need to find out if these are available on DVD somewhere. Still, I've been looking forward to this film for quite a while and I'll buy a ticket.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Really Good Review

    by pr1c3y

    Just what I hoped.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:11 p.m. CST

    spectrebeeyatch: don't take it hard man.

    by RedHorseVector

    this isn't really the place to come for serious discussion. i mean, half the time the paid writers don't know what the fuck they're talking about, and you're expecting talkbackers to have an intelligent opinion. just let it go... seriously, watching AICN talkbackers discuss film is like watching a tribe of monkeys trying to fuck a football, to quote a friend.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:13 p.m. CST

    what you say may be true, BUT

    by j_difool

    I will not countenance Wahlberg as Nathan Drake. And that is final.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Whoever said Three Kings is "Overrated".....

    by lewarcher1949

    does not deserve an opinion. One of the truly great movies of the 1990's and a much more timely and cogent commentary on American Mideast policy than most of the preachy, overly earnest crap that has been foisted on us since. I don't care that is Russell is apperantly a dick. He gets a free pass from me for Three Kings alone.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    absolutely ZERO interest in seeing this

    by Billy_D_Williams

    another boxing movie about a guy from "the neighborhood", jesus, christ. and i thought Russell was supposed to be an interesting filmmaker, he hasn't done anything interesting since Three Kings...I Fuck Huckabees was a piece of pretentious shit. is it true he put Nolan in a headlock when he wouldn't give up Jude Law for his shoot?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    O Russell should use "Underdog" by Kasabian

    by SID 8.0

    in the promos for this. The song is the embodiement of the movie. Looks good definetly will check it out.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Idiots

    by judge dredds fresh undies

    Three kings sucks an Bale is a bad actor? WTF are you people on.<br><br> Have to agree with Billy Dee to a certain extent, this looks like a movie thats been done far too many times before, still I'll give it a go cos of the talent involved.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Bale Is One Of The Greatest Actors Of His Generation

    by ISleptWithKathyBatesAndAllThatIGotWasThisStupidTalkbackName

    Sure, some of his movies haven't been too hot but the guy always brings his A game to a role, no matter if the director is fucking things up or the other actors are sleepwalking. I've never seen a movie where that guy didn't try, and I'll continue to support him until he lets me down.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Three Kings is/was sollid

    by Rupee88

    not a perfect movie (that gold they are toting around would weigh thousands of lbs), but well written and acted.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Uncharted to me is the only worthy successor to Indiana Jones

    by Rebel Scumb

    I'm not saying BETTER. But a worthy successor to a genre which hollywood has tried repeatedly (tomb raider, the mummy, national treasure, etc etc) to be replicate, but has never come remotely close. its not just the action or the visuals, but the engaging characters who you can root for and become invested in, the humable score, the interesting takes on tried and true treasure icons like El Dorado and Shangrai la

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST

    why can't they make boxing movies interesting?

    by Billy_D_Williams

    im sick of these hood rat underdog boxing movies...why not making a boxing movie about genetically engineered combatants? kind of like Universal Soldier in the ring? like the Van Dame cheesefests of he 80s? it would be awesome to see ripped meatheads beating each other to a pulp while getting blood all over the well dressed crowd.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:23 p.m. CST

    liked wahlberg in The other Guys

    by vetepalapinga

    ...but he would be a TERRIBLE Drake. Drake, in spite of what he does, has a very likable , even funny , personality . Wahlberg is likable...how? He‘s acts like someone who's waiting for an excuse to punch you 24/7.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:27 p.m. CST

    billy d

    by vetepalapinga

    they already made a cheesefest boxing movie with a Universal soldier in the ring. Its called rocky 4.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Good news for Uncharted.

    by Yelsaeb

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 6:26 p.m. CST

    vetepalapinga

    by Rebel Scumb

    Agreed. He's simutaneously trying to be this tough guy from the streets, yet at the same time speaks with a soft overly sensitive feminine cadence so comes across neither as manly, or sincere.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Shout out to Lowell, MASS!!!

    by samuraiyao

    Cold as fucked... A good dose of that cough syrup from Dr. Patel will warm my brain into a fucking coma!!!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Fuckin' BrainDrain

    by Al Swearengen

    If ever there was a cocksucker who could give Johnny Burns' mind a run for it's money...it's fuckin' him.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:44 p.m. CST

    Reign of Fire

    by dokkenfan

    Actually Butler is in Fire, he is Bale's best friend Creedy who bites it in one of the attacks. He and Bale's reenactment of Star Wars is classic. Bale is a great actor, I happen to like that Batman has chosen to make his voice unrecognizable. And I'd take Salvation over T3 "Talk to the hand" any day.JMO

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Prepare to have the earth move under your feet."

    by DrMorbius

    Should I also...<p><p>feel the sky come tumbling down?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 10:45 p.m. CST

    William_Faulkner, stand CORRECTED

    by moviemo

    Actually, the First Assistant Director is technically the person whose managerial skills would be more applicable to the implausible scenario you describe at the beginning of this talkback. If you want to get specific, the Production Manager might be more apt to "manage" people indirectly related to a film production, or perhaps a Producer, who liaisons between departments on a film set. I'm sorry, but WHAT THE FUCK are you talking about?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Russell

    by quintana007

    Is that the guy who piss off all his actors?

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:50 p.m. CST

    quintana: actually, no...

    by RedHorseVector

    i heard jason schwartzman on the radio laying some serious praise on the guy a few weeks ago.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Not original you say?

    by DrPepperPHD

    Do the mouthbreathers bitching about a lack of originality realize this film is based on a true story? <p> Perhaps some ninjas could have been added during the second boxing scene. That move would be unexpected and inject a modicum of originality. Or perhaps the writers could have made our hero's family wealthy rather than going with the cliched "kid from the wrong side of the tracks strikes it big" scenario. <p> Or maybe, just maybe.....the writers didn't concern themselves with these things because it's a TRUE FUCKING STORY! Sweet holy Moses

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Definitely a Bale fan, but...

    by TurquoiseNapalm

    his recent work has left me wanting. TDK, Public Enemies, Terminator Salvation; he's almost bland in these films, or just miscast. Compared to American Psycho, The Machinist and The Prestige, even Harsh Times- his recent character interpretations don't seem as varied. This film looks like a possible return to form, but every time it becomes absolutely justifiable for Bale to receive some kind of nomination, be it Oscar or Golden Globe, he gets screwed over. makes me wonder if he's secretly torched some bridges in the industry, or if its a result of his well known need for privacy, lack of interviews and publicity promos, etc.-Hollywood definitely favors "stars" and then theres all the politics that go with awards and accolades. Having said all that, not entirely on board with Walhberg. I think he's made a huge career out of very limited range so maybe he's to be commended for that. He has had a few standout performances, but for me it's almost always "Mark Wahlberg" on screen, not the character.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 1:32 a.m. CST

    Fuckin' Expendables

    by Al Swearengen

    You mean, like that hooplehead, MJs_Cold_Dead_Pale_Corpse? That is a cocksucker whose time has long since fuckin' expired.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 3:21 a.m. CST

    He didn't knock out Sugar Ray Leonard.

    by Wheel99

    He knocked him down. Leonard got up and won the decision.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 5:50 a.m. CST

    BrainDrain, I'll take that bet.

    by DrRumpledink

    Because not only does that not happen, but both are still alive, dumbass.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 5:51 a.m. CST

    No Gatti fights?

    by DrRumpledink

    Wow. I'm surprised. That shit is perfect for the end of a movie.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Walhberg can deliver good acting performances

    by AsimovLives

    He just doesn't bother with it most of the time.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Lot to live up to

    by BradZuhl

    It sounds fantastic, I hope it can stand beside all the classic boxing films. Love Russell's work and hope he's finally back on track after the mess of I heart Huckabees.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST

    how do pussy asses try to prove their manhood in here?

    by AsimovLives

    They praise the shit out of retard shit like Jar Jar Abrams's BREWERY OF SHIT TREK, while putting down good movies like THE DARK KNIGHT and INCEPTION and insulting talented actos like Christian Bale. It's the typical actions of retard pussy asses girly idiots. And they think they are the man for it.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 9:57 a.m. CST

    So is there a hilarious tape of O

    by heylookoverthere

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST

    this doesn't sound as good as Whip It

    by Spandau Belly

    but I'll give it a shot

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST

    I hate movies where everyones doing a Boston accent

    by MST3KPIMP

    Theres alot of these movies now.. that one with Hillary Swank or that Cop movie w/Ed Norton. I just hate the fake accents and the generic 'salt of the earth' stereotype characters that I'm supposed to be inspired by. The only one who does the Boston thing right is Affleck for obvious reasons.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    It'd be cool if Donny played the brother

    by CountryBoy

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 12:28 p.m. CST

    "Too many boxing movies" and Christian Bale

    by BoStrike1

    If you think that the dozen or so popular boxing movies that have been released in the past few decades are too much, whatever can you think about war/buddy cop/stoner comedy/courtroom drama/alien invasion/swords and sandals, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. Shut up already. There are SO many more ganres deserving of our ire for being overplayed. Boxing? Please. As for Bale, yes he is over the top in some of his higher profile roles, but don't sit there acting like you know what you're talking about if you haven't seen things like Rescue Dawn, Harsh Times or The Machinist. If all you saw was "Bloodrayne", you'd probably think Ben Kingsly wasn't good either.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 5:35 p.m. CST

    THEY LIKELY DIDN'T SHOW GATTI BECAUSE GATTI

    by Darth Busey

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 5:35 p.m. CST

    WAS WAY MORE INTERESTING THAN WARD

    by Darth Busey

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 5:36 p.m. CST

    GATTI'S LIFE DESERVES ITS OWN MOVIE. FUCKING TRAGIC ENDING.

    by Darth Busey

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 6:02 p.m. CST

    they're gonna make a Duran movie

    by vetepalapinga

    heard it today

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Mickey Ward is a friend of mine's nephew.

    by Cap'n Jack

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 8:21 p.m. CST

    THE FIGHTER <<< FIGHTING

    by GetMeAn18ManFireTeamIn12Hours

    That's what they're saying on the Internet.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 8:24 p.m. CST

    The Fucker vs. Fucking

    by GetMeAn18ManFireTeamIn12Hours

    THE FIGHTER <<< FIGHTING, that is.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Damn strong drugs are strong

    by GetMeAn18ManFireTeamIn12Hours

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Keep misreading the title as TIE FIGHTER

    by TheSecondQuest

    They really shouldn't have made the film's title logo so close to that of TIE Fighter- it's too memorable to not misread it constantly. http://wpcontent.answcdn.com/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7d/Swtiefightercd.jpg/256px-Swtiefightercd.jpg

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST

    maybe they can get one of the Geico cavemen

    by mojoman69

    to play Duran, LOL. He was an ugly mother..

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Boxing movies

    by OptimusCrime

    Boxing movies are always so much more interesting than the sport itself. There is nothing more boring than watching boxing. MMA has caused boxing to become obsolete.

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Three Kings is his masterpiece...until I see this.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 2:42 p.m. CST

    The machinist

    by redkamel

    Yeah, Bale was *terrible* in that one too (rolls eyes)

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 3:19 p.m. CST

    I remember that HBO doc.

    by phifty2

    One dies, one ends up in jail, and one finds out he has HIV. Crack cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Bale

    by Marvinatmiddleage

    The Machinist American Psycho Empire of the Sun Deal with it.

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Saw it at AFI Fest, Bale is a lock for Best Supporting Oscar.

    by polyh3dron

    That is all.

  • Nov. 27, 2010, 11:59 p.m. CST

    And in the movie, Dickie says he knocked DOWN Sugar Ray, not a K

    by polyh3dron

  • Nov. 28, 2010, 4:09 p.m. CST

    The trailer makes it look so ordinary.

    by Bob Cryptonight

    Good review, though.

  • Nov. 29, 2010, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Wahlberg on 60 minutes last week.

    by BanditDarville

    Made me want to see this movie given the heart and soul effort he put into it.

  • Dec. 1, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Praise Bale!

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Praise his Holy Name.

  • Jan. 18, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    wow

    by smutpeddlar

    bale owns this role,its easy to play a crackhead,but to play one who is a father, brother,son and brother who has lost control of himself,but still loves the others around him..ART, everyone is great in this,mark displays warmth,the mom rules,go see it,good stuff