Southpaw is the newest entrant to the fighter genre and it comes to us directed by Antoine Fuqua who some may know for his work on 2014’s The Equalizer. Southpaw stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams. Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, 50 Cent and Miguel Gomez. Southpaw has a run time of 124 minutes.
Southpaw follows the story of champion boxer Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is at a highpoint in his career, he has money to spend and solid family to look after him. It’s all taken away quite quickly though after his wife is murdered, his daughter is placed in protective custody, he loses his money and his championship title. Billy Hope’s main aim now is to get his daughter back so that he can look after her, but will he be able to do it?
Southpaw is a fairly good fighter film with some excellent acting from Jake Gyllenhaal who really seems to have trained really hard for the role. I’ve not seen Jake Gyllenhaal ever do acting like this and he provides a very strong physical performance. Rachel McAdams is excellent as Billy Hope’s wife, Maureen. Both Gyllenhaal and McAdams have great on screen chemistry and were well cast for their characters on screen. Oona Laurence was excellent as the young daughter of Billy and Maureen. Forest Whitaker who plays Tick Wills (Billy Hope’s trainer), was great with his role and delivered a strong performance. However 50 Cent didn’t seem to be that great as I’ve already forgotten most of what he did, while Miguel Gomez put up a solid physical performance as the opponent up against Jake Gyllenhaal.
These types of fighter films are often quite good when done well and it’s hard to find anyone out there who doesn’t enjoy watching something like Rocky (1976) or The Fighter (2010) and Southpaw is a solid entrant in amongst these films. However for those who enjoy this genre a lot, it does seem quite similar to a lot of past films in the genre and maybe isn’t anything new at all. It’s one of those films that’s certainly very good, but isn’t able to enjoy the status of being “great” as other films in the genre still surpass it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good experience watching Southpaw, I certainly enjoyed it and it’s got some great acting and some well done fight scenes.
The script is fairly solid and I felt the characters, especially Billy Hope, were well written and developed strongly as the film went on. There are quite a few emotional scenes between Billy and his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence), which brought a lot of drama as well as emotion to the Southpaw experience.
The action scenes are well done, with fights looking very realistic and you can really feel the tension in the air at times. All the fighters in the film, particularly Jake Gyllenhaal and Miguel Gomez, performed all action scenes well enough and with great impact.
In terms of the directing from Antoine Fuqua, this is likely one of his better films, if not his best one so far. It’s a much more full experience watching Southpaw than The Equalizer, which was fairly empty once you take out the action scenes. Southpaw had some great pacing, excellent tension and strong acting performances. It’s only downfall is that it’s fairly similar to other fighter films and doesn’t bring anything new to the genre at all, but Southpaw was still a great time regardless of this.
Overall Southpaw is a fairly decent fighter film, with great characters and solid acting. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams. Forest Whitaker and Oona Laurence all delivered great performances. This is one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s most physical acting performances to date and he was great at it. The film has got some solid pacing and isn’t boring at all, it’s got a good story and some great action. It’s a film well worth a trip to the cinema and will certainly entertain many cinema attendees.