starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris, Rachel McAdams
screenplay by Kurt Sutter
directed by Antoine Fuqua
by Walter Chaw TV-writer Kurt Sutter breaks into feature-screenwriting by amalgamating Taxi Driver with Raging Bull in a movie that has the distinction of being not only the second film of 2015 with Fiddy Cent in it for some inexplicable reason, but also the second film that Jake Gyllenhaal shares with a little slow-motion girl on a trampoline. Southpaw has the distinction, too, of being the second picture in a row following Nightcrawler that is absolutely not the equal of Mr. Gyllenhaal's performance in it. Antoine Fuqua's latest is a rote, by-the-numbers sports melodrama that ultimately lacks the courage of its convictions, meaning that although it's shooting for Rocky and Requiem for a Heavyweight, it ends up as Real Steel. It wants to be gritty like the American '70s, see, but if Disney made ultra-violent boxing movies, this is exactly what they'd be like: dead mother and all. The real wonder of it all is that Fuqua manages to match every one of Sutter's overused sports clichés with an overused Scorsese homage. That's the real toe-to-toe slugfest, sports fans.