Hands of Stone

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There has never been a shortage of boxing films, whether fiction or nonfiction, and Hands of Stone will not be remembered as one of the best. Based on the life of fighter Roberto Duran, this movie begins with trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) going to Madison Square Gardens to check out the up and coming boxer. Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramires) is a young undisciplined boxer who grew up in extreme poverty in Panama and fought his first fight at the age of sixteen. Arcel becomes Duran’s trainer, mentor, and father figure and in the 1970’s Duran begins rising in the rankings. In 1980, he fights and wins against the Welterweight Champion of the World, Sugar Ray Lenard (Usher Raymond). Four months later in a brutal rematch he goes to his corner and gives up saying, “No mas, no mas.” It seems Duran has lost his desire for fighting, but with the help of Arcel he begins to mentally heal. The film doesn’t include that Duran won one hundred fifteen fights, losing only one and he also won 4 world championships. I was hoping to learn something new about Roberto Duran but I really didn’t. This is basically your standard boxing movie with the obligatory love interest, meeting the long lost father, a run-in with the mafia, and the unnecessary hospital scene. (I half expected the famous running up and down stairs in Philadelphia.) Maybe one or two of the sub-plots should have been explored further instead of leaving viewers wondering. For example, when Arcel combs the hair of Duran between rounds and tells him that this psyches out the opponent by making it seem like you just took a shower. This isn’t a bad movie and I actually enjoyed it, but it could have been so much better. I’m giving this compelling but formulaic film a C rating.

This movie has been given an R rating by the MPAA