Hands of Stone Movie Review: This is How You Make a Sports Movie!

Great fight scenes, a good story, and an outstanding ensemble cast make Hands of Stone one of the best boxing movies I’ve seen.

I’ll say this now, if you’re looking for a great boxing movie to watch, go check out Hands of Stone. As someone who’s watched a ton of boxing movies, this biopic of Roberto Duran is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. Yeah, I know I said the same thing about Creed and Southpaw last year. However, this one is different. Whereas both of those films were rooted in fiction, this was based on the life of one of the most interesting and enigmatic figures in boxing history.

True to its source

Hands of Stone the film is adapted from Christian Guidice’s biography of Roberto Duran. What’s interesting about the movie is how it paints a picture of Duran’s rags to riches story through the eyes of Ray Arcel. It highlights the legendary fighters humble beginnings in Panama to his subsequent stardom and infamy in America. What I liked about the movie is how it didn’t depict Duran as a hero. Rather, it does the right thing and presents him as a flawed man. A man who was shaped by the country and the age that he was in.

Another thing that Hands of Stone did right was to also relate the story of the people he interacted and fought with. After I watched the movie, I quickly researched on the real events depicted in it. I was surprised that it actually got a lot of the events and motivations of the people involved right. Sugar Ray Leonard losing his focus after his wife was disrespected by Duran was spot on. As was Carlos Eleta’s growing frustration with his prized fighter’s lack of discipline.

Good performances

A lot of the pundits and critics who’ve watched Hands of Stone rated it as pretty average. This was probably because of the casting. One example would be Robert de Niro’s Ray Arcel. While I didn’t see any problems with his acting, I couldn’t help but notice how it looked a bit off. Not that this was a problem though. Really, I think it’s more of me being used to still seeing him as his characters in Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

Other performances worth noting was Edgar Ramirez’s Roberto Duran. I just liked his manic energy though some people might find it off-putting. He really does a great job of making you get alternating feelings of love and hate for his character. In my opinion, his acting is one of the reasons why the movie is worth watching.

Action sequences

Another reason to watch Hands of Stone is the fight choreography. The action sequences remind me of Creed only that they were shot better. Jonathan Jakubowicz and Miguel Ioann Littin Menz made the fight scenes look engaging and real. While there were dream sequences and slow motion shots, they didn’t take away from the action. While the fights weren’t as visceral as that of South Paw’s, they still looked really good. The great thing about the movie though is that it doesn’t rely on the fight scenes to carry the story. Rather, these scenes serve to accentuate the fight that Duran and the other characters were having internally.

A must-watch

Overall, I think that Hands of Stone is a movie worth watching. Take note though that it does feature some nudity and strong language. This means that you might not be able to watch it with your younger kids. If you’re of age and a boxing fan, then I feel that you’re going to appreciate this movie. Make no mistake about it, it has its own flaws but it also has lots of redeeming qualities to it. In a way, it’s like Roberto Duran. Flawed yet still good.

Directed and Written by: Jonathan Jakubowicz

Starring: Edgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Usher Raymond, Rubén Blades, Ana de Armas, Pedro Perez, Reg E. Cathey, John Turturro, Ellen Barkin, David Arosemena, Óscar Jaenada, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Yancey Arias, Drena De Niro, Ilza Rosario, Anthony Molinari, Rick Avery, Robb Skyler, Joe Urla, Eliud Kauffman, Khalid Ghajji, John Duddy, Israel Isaac Duffus, Aaron Zebede, Janelle Davidson, Janelle Davidson, Leo Wiznitzer, Roberto Chavo Duran, Robin Duran, Alexander Salazar, Matt Doherty, Kevin Foster, Max Cooper, Marcy Weisleder, Anthony Famulari, David Roubik, Alfredo Popa Arias, Ken Oefelein, Daniel Tamayo, Carlos Alfredo Lopez, Luis Alfonso Ceballos, Rony Quesada, Adrian Scott, Michael Sager, Hector Afu, Gary Rosato, Manuel Leiva, Tamar Gutman, Ana Lucia Garcia de Paredes, Benito Tunun, Abdiel Barragan, Rosa Isabel Lorenzo, Lorenzo Barletta, Brian Burkhardt, Edgardo Tovares, Fabian Herrera, Phillip Dankiw, Jael Kareline Baez Carvajal, Shana Stern, Francois White, Lorenzo Whartow, Daniela Souza, Dora Garcia de Paredes, Ray Durbin, Alexander Burgos Jr., Aimar Brands, Robert Gleichman, Lorenzo Stefanini,  Mackenze McAleer, Jefrey Thompson, Hector Tarpiniani, Carl Legore, Anderson Rosario, Damian Quiroga, Larry Diaz, Theodore Spiegel, Alberto Dayan, Jorge Alce, Carlos Quintanar, Keneth de Leon, Jimmy Carter, David Joseph Keller and Brianna Meighan
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Hands of Stone Movie Review: This is How You Make a Sports Movie! Reviewed byJames I on . Rating: 4.75

Review Overview

iPLAY® Rating:
Scores 4.75

User Rating:

4.6/5
(1 votes)
iPLAY® Rating: 95%
95% Scores 4.75

User Rating:

92%
(1 votes)

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