If “Southpaw” was one of those frozen blended concoctions you drink to keep cool in the dog days of summer, it would be a blended punch- it’s a film that lifts its story, scenes and characters directly from other boxing movies and only manages to stay fresh because of the juice of formidable actors who manage to keep it potent despite the familiar mix.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope, the undisputed and undefeated light heavyweight champion of the world. Raised in an orphanage in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, we meet Billy as he defends his title a few blocks away at Madison Square Garden. His loving wife, partner, fellow orphan and street-smart business confidant Mo (Rachel McAdams) supports him a few rows from ringside. Billy is the kind of fighter who the more he is hit, the harder he fights back. What concerns Mo is that Billy’s fights are lasting longer, meaning he’s getting hit more. While Billy manages to retain his title in the 10th round of this particular 12 round fight, Mo’s concern is that if this prolonged fight time trend continues, their young daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) will know her father only as a punch-drunk former champ in just a few years time. Continue reading