‘Bleed for This’ gets saved by the bell

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 4:20 PM
‘Bleed for This’ gets saved by the bell by Gabriel Hypes

“Bleed for This” is a boxing movie that shares a lot of the same characteristics with every other movie in the genre.

There’s heart, fight and a whole lot of courage that feels real, as it should, because it’s based on a real-life comeback story. It wasn’t a major problem in movies like “Rocky” or “Creed,” but you could wonder at certain points with those fictions: “would any of this happen in the real world?”

This film doesn’t have that problem and it feels genuine. The feel-good aspect of the film, making it seem like you can take on the world, is almost where the positives end though. The rest of “Bleed for This” feels like the younger brother, maybe even a cousin, to the boxing movies that came before it.

Vinny (Miles Teller) is a boxer that does not know when to quit. Even when he wins a bout, he stills ends up in the hospital. He is a character that an audience can get behind and root for, and Teller brings out his best traits and is the high point.

While none of the other characters were horrible, it just felt like they were either handled wrong or just unlikeable.

Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) plays Vinny’s trainer in the film. He’s an experienced veteran that has worked with the best, but also suffers from alcoholism.

Even with the problems, he works hard to make Vinny capable of beating anyone, though we don’t see much genuine connection between coach and athlete. Thinking of past duos — like Rocky and Mick — a real connection that viewers could feel is lacking. Even if they were fictional characters, they felt more real than Rooney and Vinny.

This relationship façade could be the result of the “overcoming of conflict” that “Bleed for This” never really gives us. Rocky fights with Mickey, but you see them work through it later, admit their faults, and work towards being a champion. Whenever conflict arises for Vinny, even with his accident, it seems like conflict solves itself.

We know he can overcome adversity, but it never seems like it is very hard or costly for him.

Whether you think of “Bleed for This” as a boxing movie or an emotional story, it doesn’t do either as well as it could. Looking back at “Creed” from last year, it gave us beautiful, drawn-out shots that put you in the fight.

“Bleed for This” uses a lot of quick shot changes that make the fights seem short and hard to follow. You wouldn’t know who was winning if it wasn’t for the crowd and announcers telling us.

On the emotional side, “Bleed for This” does do a great job, but as stated earlier, it doesn’t do enough to break the high ceiling the “Rocky” movies created. Vinny has no real love interest, he has a loving family, but we don’t see them much together and when we do, they fight and Vinny really only cares about himself.

That isn’t a bad thing, but it is hard to favor Vinny over someone like Rocky who would give up everything he has earned for the ones he loves.

“Bleed for This” wasn’t a bad movie at all. Miles Teller is great like he has been in most of his films; Vinny was a character that could inspire us all with the troubles we face in life and it was at least entertaining.

However, there were a lot of small problems where just a few adjustments would have gone a long way. “Bleed for This” is worth a watch, though it doesn’t stack up to the boxing movies of the past.

Gabriel Hypes can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com. 

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