After Hands of Stone, we review another boxing biopic, this time of Vinny Pazienza. Is it any good though?
When I first found out that there was a biopic of Vinny Pazienza called Bleed for This, I was happy yet apprehensive. If you’ve been following my sports movie reviews, you’d know that I had earlier reviewed Hands of Stone. Generally, I thought that was an okay movie which had some pacing issues. With that lurking in my mind, I went into this movie expecting the worse. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
— BleedForThis (@BleedForThis) November 10, 2016
Bleed For This covers the events that transpired in Vinny Pazienza’s fight against Roger Mayweather up until his recovery from a gruesome spine injury. Unlike Hands of Stone, the story in this movie flowed a lot better. Mostly, I attribute this to the fact that it didn’t cover too much ground like the Duran movie. The more stream-lined story allowed Ben Younger to craft a better film and focus on Pazienza’s struggles.
BTG Speaks To Vinny Paz About His Career And His New Movie – Bleed For This… https://t.co/axh0ha0ESd
— Next Big Fight (@NextBigFight) December 29, 2016
In addition to the story, the casting was another aspect of this film that I liked. A couple of years ago, I watched the Fantastic 4 reboot and hated every minute of it. In particular, I wasn’t a fan of the actor who played Reed Richards in that movie. Fast-forward to now and that very same actor has gained my respect. Make no mistake about it, Miles Teller’s performance as Vinny Pazienza was by no means, Oscar-worthy. However, it also wasn’t that bad. In fact, I think that he got down what made the “Pazmanian Devil” such a beloved figure by boxing fans. I liked how he was able to transition from morose after his injury to tenacious and determined during the rehab scenes.
— Boxing News (@BoxingNewsED) November 29, 2016
Aside from Teller, Aaron Eckhart and Ciaran Hinds also gave great performances here. Eckhart particularly, stood out with his portrayal of Kevin Rooney. Had I not seen his name on the Blu-Ray covers, I wouldn’t have known it was him who was playing Paz’s coach. I’ve always considered Eckhart as one of Hollywood’s underrated thespians and he showed why in this movie. As for Hinds, he did a great job playing as Pazienza’s father, Angelo.
Great Cinematography and Boxing Scenes
— BleedForThis (@BleedForThis) November 23, 2016
One thing that you’ll immediately notice with Bleed For This is its cinematography. Compared to Hands of Stone and Creed, I actually think the cinematography on this film was better. As for the boxing scenes, they could have used a little more polish. I’m not saying that they were bad, it’s just that it was a little too heavy on the editing (especially the fight against Duran). In contrast, Creed’s “looked” better thanks to how vicious and visceral it was. On a technical level though, I would still rate Bleed For This’ fight scenes as an improvement over Hands of Stone’s and even Creed’s. I say this because even though they weren’t stylized, the boxing scenes were pretty much spot on. You could say that Younger actually gets how boxing is supposed to be: gritty and a little hard to look but will still keep you glued to the action.
Make no mistake about it, Bleed For This is not a perfect boxing movie. For one, it has some historical inaccuracies. In truth, he already had a lot of fights after he recovered from the injury and before his fight with Duran. As an inspirational story about perseverance though, I’d say that there aren’t many like it. As someone who’s been through a lot of struggles in life, it wasn’t hard for me to root for Vinny Pazienza. If you’re looking for a great boxing movie to watch in your spare time then you’re going to love this.