The story of a low-class guy overcoming adversity and becoming a boxing sensation…sounds familiar. No, it’s not another Rocky film, it’s The Fighter, following the true story of boxer Micky Ward and his brother/trainer Dicky Eklund. David O. Russell directs the movie starring Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward, the brother of former boxer Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Ward must overcome living in his brother’s shadow and all the problems his dysfunctional family brings to the table. Also starring Melissa Leo and Amy Adams.
At first I wondered why Christian Bale won the Oscar for best supporting actor, because the first half of the film he is the main character. Bale was great at being his usual intense self, dropping lots of weight for the role. Wahlberg did not stand out well in comparison to Christian Bale, but it helped me get into the film because he really is stuck in Bale’s shadow for the majority of the movie. I still think they did a good job of making Micky Ward easy to root for as he almost the real-life version of Rocky.
Mickey O’Keefe was the trainer of Micky Ward, but the coolest thing about the film was that they were able to convince the real Mickey O’Keefe to play himself in the movie, and for a first time acting job he did really well, although he was playing himself. I thought it was pretty slow paced and the fights didn’t last long, but you really don’t want them to because according to the movie Ward’s fighting style was even worse than Rocky’s, which is just let the other guy beat the crap out of you until he’s tired and you can hit him. Another problem with the story is that it feels like you watching two different movies, one about Micky Ward’s boxing career and one about Dicky Eklund’s drug addiction.
Overall, I liked the movie, but the biggest thing that caught my eye was that the ending fight was almost identical to fight from Rocky 4 (minus that ridiculous “Let’s get along” speech Rocky gives to the Soviets) and it just doesn’t have that inspirational feel to it that you hope it would. I still liked it and it’s worth checking out for Christian Bale’s incredible window escapes that put Batman to shame.