The Worst Film Ever
Lack of good storyline.
Ok... Let's be honest. It cannot be the best movie but is quite enjoyable. The movie has the potential to develop a great plot for future movies
While it is a pity that the story wasn't told with more visual finesse, this is trivial compared to our real-world problems. It takes a good movie to put that into perspective.
Writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz has captured the true story of Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán and has been able to turn this rags to riches to dissipation and back story into far more than just a boxing story. This is a film that focuses on the interpersonal and professional relationship between a fighter and his trainer and it works well.The story is a rise, fall and rise again story of legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán (Edgar Ramírez) who climbed into notoriety in 1968 as a 16 year old in his first controversial appearance at Madison Square Gardens. In June 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) to capture the WBC welterweight title but shocked the boxing world by returning to his corner in the November rematch, saying 'no mas' (no more): he was retiring from boxing. By the time of his actual retirement in 2002 at the age of 50, he had 199 fights under his belt with 103 wins and four titles as a lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight. The film however focuses on his relationship with legendary boxing trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) whose own exploits in the boxing world made him the first trainer to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.The cast is splendid – and in addition to Ramirez, Raymond, and De Niro there are fine supporting roles by Ana de Armas as Roberto's wife, Rubén Blades as Carlos Eleta, John Turturro as Frankie Carbo, Pedro Perez as Plomo, and Ellen Barkin as De Niro's wife, and Reg E. Cathey as Don King.For boxing fans and for those who respect the history of sports this film is a must. But beyond the boxing and historical aspects, the interacting between Ramírez and De Niro is richly rewarding and Oscar worthy performances. Grady Harp, December 16
I love boxing films and even more so when the film is based on a true story in which the director portrays the sports hero(s) experiencing every day peoples' lows and highs that we should be able to relate to. Within the first 15 minutes of the film I was captivated with Roberto Duran, the child, the man, and ultimately the boxer with unlimited talent and an insatiable hunger to win a boxing world championship.The three main characters in the film are the Panama born boxer Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), his world class trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) and Duran's main contender in his way for a world championship Sugar Ray Leonard (singer Usher Raymond).It is near impossible to capture such a boxing legend whose professional career spanned over five decades, 119 fights, 103 wins, of which 70 of those wins were by knockouts and then attempt to describe in any real level of detail of this mans true history in less than two hours of screen time. So for any of those other critical reviews that stated Hands of Stone just wasn't a box office success I say who cares? What matters is this film portrays a young Panamanian boy whose early life was filled with resentment for Americans who kept his people behind a wall in their own country, an American man who is his father and then deserted Roberto's young mother leaving her to raise her children alone. Roberto Duran's documented resentment for the country U.S.A. and its citizens may not sit well with many American movie viewers which may account for lower than expected turnouts at the box office but his story is real, and a difficult one. He had a very hard life growing up in Panama, and so boxing was his ticket out. Duran feared no one, and by the time he entered the ring as a lightweight in June 1972 to fight Ken Buchanan, his destiny was about to come true. The film indicated that there was some controversy over Duran potentially hitting Buchanan below his belt line, but as there was controversy that followed Duran throughout his 33 year fighting career in and out of the ring Duran became a world champion, won and lost over the decades to follow.Robert De Niro who played the famous boxing trainer Ray Arcel allowed actor Edgar Ramirez to be the screens main focus so I give kudos to the mega star for accepting his supporting actor role as a mentor to Duran continually explaining to Roberto Duran that he had all the god given talent required, he just had to convince himself in his own mind that he was unbeatable. Obviously De Niro had a positive affect on Edgar Ramirez's screen performance as I for one, believed these two were the real fighter and trainer.As for the actual in ring fights between Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez) and Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) I have seen better fight sequences such as in the classic Oscar winning Raging Bull and the Rocky film compilations, so I was glad more time was spent outlining the man Roberto Duran outside of the ring, rather than with trying to emulate Duran's fighting technique.Additional good performances were displayed by Ruben Blades who played Duran's wealthy boxing agent Carlos Eleta, and minor but important roles by John Turturro playing New York boxing kingpin Frankie Carbo, Ellen Barkin who played Stephanie Arcel and Reg E. Cathey as bigger than life boxing promoter Don King.On a personal note the naked love scenes in this film took away from the films intention as a sports biography film and I believe if they had edited these gratuitous scenes out I am quite sure there was sufficient material more relevant to Duran's history that was left behind on the cutting room floor that would have added greater value than a bit of T&A.Overall the performances by Edgar Ramirez, Robert De Niro and Usher Raymond were top notch. I recommend Hands Of Stone for not only boxing fans, but fans of films that display poverty stricken characters rising to fame and fortune, and doing well by their rewards by sharing their fortunes with the less fortunate as Roberto Duran, world champion, has accomplished throughout his life.Scoring a 9 out of 10 rating. CHAMPIONS ALL!!
The film never recovers from my reluctance to accept the actor in the title role as Roberto Duran. The genuine boxer was a small, skinny rat-like character in his early lightweight days. However, the actor is tall, strapping, chisel-jawed and above all far too clean-cut to pull off the sinister Duran persona. I also do not buy the 'pretty boy' Sugar Ray Leonard character because 1) the actor looks like he's about forty years-old and 2) he's not good-looking. I wanted to see filth, poverty, violence in Duran's early days because this is what I've heard his background is, but where was the grit? the pain?Nobody else is going to make a film about this legendary boxer so we are stuck with this disappointing effort.
I have never been interested in boxing, but I remember having heard Roberto Durán's name during the '70s and '80s. And now, we have a biography of his in the shape of the film Hands of Stone, which is moderately interesting, even though it's constantly interrupted by multiple tangents dividing the audience's attention and obstructing the flow of the narrative. Hands of Stone didn't only aim at explaining Durán's motivation and his complicated personality, but also the historical and economic context of the decades through which his boxing career was developed. It's an undoubtedly ambitious task... but some moderation would have helped to focus the attention into the genuinely important aspects. I think that, with a more judicious edition, the movie would have felt more natural without losing the character's interesting details. Édgar Ramírez and Robert De Niro bring good performances as Durán and his trainer (respectively), but I would also like to mention the competent works from the supporting cast, highlighting Rubén Blades, Usher Raymond, Reg E. Cathey, John Turturro and Ana de Armas. As for the boxing scenes, I frankly didn't find them very exciting; I found them very inferior to the ones I saw in Creed early this year. In some place of Hands of Stone, there's a solid biography hidden; unfortunately, it's difficult to find it between so many urban drama, political conflicts and domestic arguments. The film Hands of Stone should have followed the example of the authentic Hands of Stone: hitting very hard on a specific point, without getting distracted by opponent's tricks. Well, it's not an ideal metaphor, but, as I previously said, I don't know very much about boxing.