Bleed For This review by Bobby Blakey
Depending on who you ask boxing films are either all the rage or a tired genre people are sick of seeing. With films like Creed and Southpaw bringing the pain and story in the best way possible there is a high standard for the genre right now. The latest Bleed For This showcases yet another true story and features a great cast including Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Kaey Sagal, Ciaran Hinds, and Ted Levine, but does it pack the punch it needs to tell this inspirational story or will it just be another wreck you can’t watch?
Bleed For This follows the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history. Miles Teller stars as Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, a local Providence boxer who shot to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near-fatal car accident leaves Vinny with a severed spine, he is told he may never walk again. Against all odds and doctor’s orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident for what could be the last fight of his life. First off I love that this film started off during a weigh in already well into Pazienza’s boxing career so not to waste a lot of time with story and information not needed for this story. As the film progresses it almost feels like two completely different stories featuring the same people and both work great to come together at the end. First off is the new direction in his fighter life as Paz trains with a new trainer in hopes of getting one last shot at the title. This alone would have made for a great movie, but instead offers up the perfect platform to see who this man is before really seeing what he is made of.
The second half of the film is all about more than fighting, but his life as he fights through the results of his accident to not only become a fighter again, but whole in general. This portion of the film kind of changes every character in the story allowing you to see who each of them truly are as people and in the professional world and it’s not always pretty. The cast is superb with Miles Teller getting the chance to flex his abilities both physically and emotionally to perfection. I have been a fan of his for quite some time and am so glad to see him in a role this way that really lets him cut loose. Aaron Eckhart is great as well as the former Tyson trainer who is struggling with his own demons, but handled in a way that doesn’t overshadow the main story. This is essentially a redemption story for him as well and seeing them together is magic.
There are so many great moments in this film both in and out of the ring thanks to this great cast and great cinematography. I really enjoyed this film way more than I thought I might and think this is a story that everyone should see to witness what true inspiration is. On a side note they allow more of a peek into the business side of boxing as well that helps it stand out all the more. The last fight of the film pits Paz against Roberto Duran who was just the focus of the film Hands of Stone which makes this film arrive at the perfect time for the films to be unintendedly connected. If you love films like Rocky and Southpaw then you definitely want to check out Bleed For This.
In addition to the film this release includes deleted scenes and featurettes that take you further behind this inspirational true story. Step into the ring and grab your copy of Bleed For This available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.