Bleed for This
The first thing that caught my attention in regards to this film was the promotion with Billy Squier’s “The Stroke”. I generally tend to enjoy boxing movies despite not really liking sports films. Boxing films can often be formulaic, cliched, or familiar but I really just enjoy a good underdog story with good boxing scenes. Even though I don’t follow the sport at all anymore (the transition to UFC/MMA has been a blessing), I still think boxing movies can be a lot of fun.
Bleed For This is based on the true story of American Italian boxer Vinny Pazienza and his comeback from a near career ending spinal injury. I assume the film is pretty accurate as a biopic. Miles Teller as Paz starts off as an arrogant, brass, but dedicated boxer. At first he realizes the weight cut for his division was hard for him so he moves up two weight classes and takes on a champion (who also happens to be a favorite). Paz wins the title but shortly afterwards gets into a terrible car crash. From there the comeback story comes on.
In terms of treading familiar ground, Bleed for This is full of boxing cliches and tropes that we have seen in many films before. Not that its a bad thing, if you can stomach it. Its a decent boxing tale and a comeback story for a determined boxer. Its not really something you are going to think about after its done. In fact, the film may exit your mind entirely afterwards. What it does offer is a dedicated performance from Miles Teller, and transformative appearances from both Ciaran Hinds and Aaron Eckhart. I had a hard time recognizing either. I don’t think I’ve really seen Christine Evangelista in much else but wow is she nice to look at.
Overall, this film is exactly what you would expect. If you don’t watch it you aren’t missing anything. If you do watch it you will enjoy it for what it is even if the story has been told a million times. If you are like me (a film enthusiast who just has to watch everything) you will find a nice balance and really take the film for what it really is. And that is, a harmless sports film that looks to inspire and does enough to make a decent popcorn film.