BELIEVE IN HOPE.
Light heavyweight champ Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is struck by a personal tragedy and has to start his life over, with help from a trainer (Forest Whitaker) in a small-time gym. Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter’s script has a few themes in common with that show, as it explores the consequences of having a bloody job where you think it’s worth putting your family in jeopardy. Grim and realistic at times, but at heart this is really another Rocky III (1982) doing everything it can to mask the formula. Still, directed with conviction, and Gyllenhaal delivers an impressive performance; we believe in him, and therefore the movie itself.
2015-U.S. 123 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Screenplay: Kurt Sutter. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal (Billy Hope), Forest Whitaker (Titus “Tick” Wills), Rachel McAdams (Maureen Hope), Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson… Tyrese Gibson.
Trivia: Originally conceived as a vehicle for Eminem in the shape of a sequel to 8 Mile (2002). Lupita Nyong’o was allegedly first cast for a role, but had to drop out.