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.
— Hands of Stone Movie (@HandsofStoneMov) November 20, 2016
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.
— Hands of Stone Movie (@HandsofStoneMov) November 21, 2016
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.
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.
— iTunes Movies (@iTunesMovies) November 17, 2016
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.
— Hands of Stone Movie (@HandsofStoneMov) October 17, 2016
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.
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.