by David Schuster
Less then twenty-four hours after seeing Bernard Hopkins get screwed out of winning the light heavyweight title I went to see the movie "The Fighter". Hopkins might have been screwed in a bogus decision but I promise that you won't be by seeing this flick.
"The Fighter" is based on the true story of welterweight boxer Micky Ward who finally blossomed into a serious contender in his thirties. Previously to that he was pretty much a stepping stone for other fighters who were moving up the ranks. Ward was also hindered in his career by his crazy family and that comes through loud and clear in this movie.
Mark Wahlberg plays the title character and he trained extremely hard for this movie waking up early every morning for almost two years and going through the rigors of a boxer. The fight scenes come across as realistic and provide the finishing touches on a very good movie. But the story's foundation is Ward's family and his background and there are some excellent supporting roles. Christian Bale plays Ward's brother and he will be nominated for best supporting actor. Bale's character truly cares for his brother but he's an incredible screw up until (literally) finally cleaning up his act. A nasty crack coke habit makes for some sticky moments in both his and his family's life. Ward's mother is played by Melissa Leo who rarely gets the acting credit that she deserves as she, once again, belts out another excellent performance. And Amy Adams plays Ward's girlfriend who ends up having a positive influence on his life.
This is one of those stories of a guy following his (and his family's) dream and overcoming numerous obstacles to achieve his goal. But Director, David O. Russell deftly intertwines different aspects of Ward's life to make for a most pleasing cinematic experience.
Ward went on to have one of the all time trilogy of fights against the late Arturo Gaetti but this movie ends before that occurs. I almost wish it would have been part of the movie because those were three incredible action bouts.
Regardless, this is a very good movie and while I admit I love boxing. I give "The Fighter" a home run - three and a half stars.