Review - The Fighter

The Fighter (2010), R, 115 minutes - Another 'based on a true story' movie, The Fighter, while chronicling the trials and tribulations and the rise of Mickey Ward to the world light welterweight championship, is really more about one's family and the drama they can create.

Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is the younger half brother of Dickey Eklund (Christian Bale), who's 15 minutes of fame came when he knocked Sugar Ray Leonard down in a match. In the time since, Dickey has let fame go to his head and has become a washed up, strung out shell of his old self. He acts as Mickey's trainer and their mother Alice (played by Melissa Leo), Mickey's manager.

While claiming to help Mickey rise through the boxing ranks, the family is really still hung up on Dickey's previous exploits and his supposed come back. The entire family is even being followed around by HBO for a story about Dickey's come back (or so they think). After Dickey ends up in jail due to some shenanigans, and the HBO special airs Mickey decides to make another run while he still has the chance. He agrees to be managed and trained by others (not family) leading to quite a bit of infighting amongst family members who feel he is being taken advantage of. After going on a run of winning matches, he earns a chance to fight for the world light welterweight championship. It is about this time that Dickey is released from prison and wants to go back to training Mickey, causing even more familial strife when Mickey tells them he promised his new management that he wouldn't work with Dickey.

This is a Hollywood portrayal of a true story, so you can probably guess what happens from here. It is a bit predictable, but hey, that's how it happened right? The Fighter is easily the best sports related movie of 2010 (although it didn't have much competition in a slow year for sports flicks). It is also as close as one could get to a real life Rocky story, but with strong turns by Wahlberg, Bale, Leo, and Amy Adams (Charlene Fleming - Mickey's love interest), it is definitely worth taking a look at. Bale shouldn't have any trouble snagging a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Dickey. He eerily shed weight (a la The Machinist and Rescue Dawn) for the role, this time to bring a crackhead to life.

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