He has done it again. After Prisoners, came Nightcrawler and now Southpaw.
I didn’t see Enemy but heard great things from it. It seems like Jake is a person to watch out for nowadays. So I wonder how he’s gonna do in Everest (he was hardly in the trailer).
Anyway, Fuqua’s last film was Equalizer and that was a horrid thing to watch so when I saw he was directing I would say I was surprise as the trailer seem pretty decent and it had Jake in it, so it must be alright, right?
Well, yes, in a way, it was fine and enjoyable.
First off, the plot is rather simple. Champion goes through life-shattering changes and has to pick his life back together and redeem himself. I wished the plot went farther in some way. It was fine as it was but I wanted more, especially near the redemption part, it just felt like it was lacking something, say an actual rival with substance?
So before I expand on that, let’s just say Jake was great here. He played an authentic character that went from riches to ruins. His relationship with his daughter, played by Oona Laurence, was another highlight of the movie. Her acting was really great and they had great chemistry within the family. It was heartfelt during the tougher times in the movie when she’s struggling with her current family situation. Rachel McAdams was also great here as she was playing the understanding mother and wife. It was nice to see her play it off as she’s the one in charge and taking care of everything for Jake while he’s off fighting. So the family dynamics is definitely a highlight of this movie.
As I write this, I feel that a lot of the movie could have been fleshed out a lot more. Just a few would have been 50 cents, Miguel Gomez and Forest Whitaker’s roles. I just felt these three could have been fleshed out a lot more. Sure Whitaker has a lot of screen time but it’s all very subtle and when the end is near, there’s this explosion of character that comes from nowhere. 50cents being Jake’s manager could have been used better as he was just there but no actual impact but playing money games. Gomez is Jake’s rival in this film solely because Gomez thinks he is a tough guy and can totally take Jake but it just felt like a lot of hot air and no substance. Furthermore, the actual redemption-starting part was ‘good’ and all in terms of showcasing Jake’s fighting abilities but it really lack a lot in terms of character.
Talking about action, I am so glad there’s a lot of shots where it seems to be Jake in the ring and the punches are brutal here so Fuqua did deliver the action here. So the cinematography here is fine for a boxing film.
The soundtrack was awesome and it was just pumping adrenaline in those action sequences and it just built great atmosphere. I actually bought it after I finished the film and the CDs been in my car ever since.
So with all that said, Southpaw is a good showcase of Jake’s physical transformation and his chemistry with a 13 yr old actress. Unfortunately, the plot is rather safe and a lot more fleshing out could have been done for a lot of the characters.