Rocky III's rebuilding-the-champ drama meets Cinderella Man's Daddy struggles, with a dash of The Fighter's neighborhood grit and some Eminem on the soundtrack for the beefcake training montage. A cut Jake Gyllenhaal (so, so good in last year's Nightcrawler) does a lot of quality mush-mouthed mumbling as a punched-up boxer who relies on his wife (Rachel McAdams) to do the brainwork, but it's director Antoine Fuqua who has bitten off more than he can chew with this overstuffed, faintly ludicrous fight pic. See, Billy Hope is the light heavyweight champion of the world — except he's never learned to block a punch. Instead, he takes the hits until they set him off, and then goes nuts and lowers the boom. See also: his life outside the ring. But when tragedy strikes, he'll have to find a new approach. Will it be through his court-mandated anger-management counselor? Or perhaps instead, the half-blind proprietor/sensei of an inner city gym (Forest Whitaker), who spends his time trying to help troubled youth, and who just happened to train the one man who ever beat Hope? Gyllenhaal gives his all, but he can't make this one a winner. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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