Tony's Take


bleed-for-this-posterThis Is What the Greatest Comeback in Sports History Looks Like

In 1988, Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza was one of the World’s Greatest World Champion boxers, which is where “Bleed for This” picks-up.  As his career begins to falter with a few poor fights in-a-row, he gets a big chance in a title fight but he fails to take advantage of it.  With everyone telling him he’s done in the ring, a new trainer of his makes an adjustment to his weight class, moving him up two classes into junior middleweight.  His first fight secures him the Championship belt.  As he is preparing for his follow-up bout, tragedy strikes in the form of a serious car accident; leaving him with a broken neck.  Let alone fighting again, doctors cannot guarantee he will ever walk again due to a fracture in his cervical vertebrae.  Faced with six months in a Halo device trapped in Providence, Vinny uses this time to get back in-touch with himself, while planning on proving his family and the rest of the World wrong by getting back in the ring.

Miles Teller stars as the cocky, Italian boxer Vinny Pazienza.  Teller commands the screen with his accent, swagger, and bravado; fully-embodying the real life champ.  Katey Sagal plays Vinny’s concerned mother, Louise.  Aaron Eckhart plays the trainer who completely changes Vinny’s life for the better, Kevin Rooney.  Amanda Clayton and Christine Evangelista plays Vinny’s caring sisters, Louise and Doreen.   Ciarán Hinds disappears as Vinny’s father and manager, Angelo Pazienza.  Ted Levine too is nearly unrecognizable as his fight promoter, Lou Duva.  Jordan Gelber plays Lou’s son, Dan.

“Bleed for This”, Ben Younger’s first film in over a decade, utilizes an uplifting story of courage and combines it with the strong performances of the cast and authentic fight choreography to give us one of the better boxing movies in recent memory.  One of the reasons the film works so well is due to the performances of the cast.  Teller is excellent as the confident boxer, but he also shows the emotion directly on his face and we feel what he feels.  Eckhart and Hinds also deserved recognition due to their committed roles as well, perfecting their accents and body language; they went all-in and it works!  “Bleed for This” also pulls-no-punches when it comes to Vinny’s story, showing nearly everything; ranging from the Halo being installed to his breathtaking workouts against the doctor’s orders.  The film also has impressive fight sequences, giving you the feeling that you’re not only watching a fight but often feeling like you are in the ring.  The film’s soundtrack also features a fun, foot-tapping soundtrack to get you pumped-up as well!  “Bleed for This” is full of suspense as-well; with the car accident being truly traumatizing (especially with those who have been through something similar before).  However, the film often suffers for following cliché after cliché.  The fights and Vinny’s actions are incredibly predictable, but one would expect that when “based on a true story” is flashed across the screen before the movie begins.  “Bleed for This” has a run time of 117 minutes and it keeps your thoroughly entertained from start-to-finish.  “Bleed for This” isn’t a revelation in boxing cinema, but it is an inspirational story coupled with solid performances provides a welcome dose of pure entertainment.

“Bleed for This” follows the incredible true story of Vinny Pazienza, as he faces a long-comeback to get back in the ring after a serious accident.  The film features impressive performances, an inspirational story, and clichéd but well-shot fight sequences.  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, “Bleed for This” is definitely worth your consideration!!

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BLEED FOR THIS is rated R for language, sexuality/nudity and some accident images, in theaters NOVEMBER 18TH!

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