Friday, October 19th, 2018

Rocker and Halls Reviews: Hands Of Stone

Posted on November 12, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By John Rocker and Aaron Halls

Our review system. A Must See, Wait For DVD, Watch on Cable, Avoid It.


Hands of Stone chronicles the true story of Roberto Durán (Édgar Ramírez), who after spending his early career as a boxer in Panama begins a partnership with trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro). Under Ray’s mentorship, Roberto faces wins and losses, both inside the ring and out, that will challenge his status as a fighter.

What Did We Like?

Aaron: One aspect of the film that I liked were the performances. Édgar Ramírez  gives a charismatic performance as Roberto Duran. Playing Duran over a long time period, Ramírez has to portray many aspects of his character, and he does a good job. Due to Ramírez, Duran can be tenacious as well as unlikeable at times, but also vulnerable. Playing Duran’s trainer Ray Arcel is Robert De Niro, and he has fantastic chemistry with Ramírez. De Niro brings a layer of warmth to Ray, who is always in Roberto’s corner, in and out of the ring. Ana De Armas and Ellen Barkin are also great in their supporting roles as Felicidad Duran and Stephanie Arcel

John: I agree with Aaron. The performances were one of the few things that stood out in  this film. “Charismatic” isn’t the word I would use, though. I give the film props for its main protagonist being somebody who isn’t entirely a good person. It’s something that you don’t see in films nowadays. I would also like to give credit to the beginning of the film, where it fleshes out Duran’s backstory and you can understand why he acts the way he does. It’s a great way to get into the film. It’s engaging, andwell paced so that it doesn’t slow down.

What Did We Dislike?

Aaron: Overall, I felt like this movie bit off more than it could chew. It tries to cover a lot of ground showing not only Roberto Duran’s time in Panama as a child, but also his rise, fall and potential redemption as a boxer. In addition to all this, the movie tries to fit in some subplots and scenes with minor characters, such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Ray Arcel. The result is a movie that feels unfocused. These subplots and scenes did not contribute to the overall plot, and some could have been cut.

John: The editing is one of my biggest issues with this film. Along with the unfocused plotlines that just get thrown in there without any true purpose, the film suffers from a lot of pacing issues. Granted, I did say the beginning was good, but after that point things go downhill. The film just jumps around from location to location without any reason, and this causes the pacing to go from incredibly fast to painstakingly slow. This also shows in the fight scenes, which are arranged in a scattershot manner. It jumps from shot to shot with no clear intention, and even then the shots don’t make much sense. It doesn’t flow. The fight isn’t the focus, and it should be in a boxing film.

Who Would Enjoy This Movie?

Aaron: If you are a big fan of boxing and sports dramas, or maybe have seen some of Roberto Duran’s fights, I think you would find some enjoyment in the film despite its flaws.

John: I agree with Aaron. There are better boxing films out there that are worth your time, however, such as Creed.

Our Rating: Watch on Cable


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