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Review: Hands of Stone

As we know, films about the sport of boxing have been around for ages. As we also know, the reason for this is because it’s the type of sport that lends itself to the cinematic angles of life like know other modern day competition can. This is why even though the sport itself may not be what it used to be, it will still keep showing up in theaters for generations to come. That’s certainly not a bad thing as it brings us fictional stories while also giving tales based on fact like Hands of Stone.

For anyone who knows boxing, the title of this picture is the nickname of Roberto Duran. Played by Edgar Ramírez, Duran is brought to life here to showcase who he was and who he came to be. In doing so, audiences get a look at the former boxers troublesome upbringing in Panama to his glory days of doing battle with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond), one of the biggest legends the sport will ever see.

Hands of Stone manages to effectively tell the life story of boxing great Roberto Duran. It essentially starts when he’s a kid and goes throughout a large chunk of his professional boxing career. During this time on camera, we’re also able to find out about his life outside of the squared circle and how his upbringing and beliefs motivated him. For those of us who are interested in these things, this gives us the necessary view that allows us to understand more about the motivations of a champion.

While Hands of Stone is not the kind of boxing movie that people will be talking about for years to come, it’s good at what it’s able to provide. In saying that I mean there’s some quality entertainment even though not a whole lot jumps out at you while watching it. There’s a bunch of stuff going on, but there was some room to leave a definitive impression on viewers.

Some of the boxing scenes are nice to watch, but a couple of them kind of disappoint. That’s not to say they’re bad, but they kind of feel like decent boxing matches in the real world. This stuff doesn’t have to be filmed like it’s a Rocky movie, but there did need to be a little more drama added to some of them. To accomplish that, all you probably needed was some more dramatic music playing behind it all. That and changing angles at the right times have proven to drastically improve things in film.

I know a decent amount about Roberto Duran as a fighter, but I don’t know how much his of his life outside of the ring is accurately portrayed here in terms of what could be described as small details. I’m assuming much of it is legit, but a little bit of fiction is to be expected. While I don’t usually endorse too much of that, it’s understandable when you’re trying to tell a story and build on the legend of a legendary figure.

Regardless of how much of this is fact, fiction or something in between, all of this picture is focused on properly building up the legend that Roberto Duran has carried with him for quite some time. If you’re a boxing fan or you’re in simple need of an entertaining movie, you can’t go wrong with Hands of Stone. It gives you you a lot to grasp onto while maintaining a very quick run time by today’s standards.

Rating: R

Director: Jonathan Jukobowicz

Edgar Ramírez
Robert De Niro
Usher Raymond
Ana de Armas
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Ellen Barkin
John Turturro

Film Length: 105 minutes

Release Date: August 26, 2016

Distributor: The Weinstein Company

  • Score - 7/10
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