Jake Gyllenhaal is fighting fit as a boxing champ in a pumped-up melodrama.
Director Antoine Fuqua’s film pummels the viewer into submission with brutal action inside the ring and relentless clichés everywhere else.
Gyllenhaal is the reigning Light Heavyweight champ, a New York’s Hell’s Kitchen orphan who has scrapped his way to the top, with his devoted wife (Rachel McAdams), cute daughter (Oona Lawrence) and an entourage of rowdy hangers-on by his side.
Then a shock incident leaves his life in ruins, transforming the movie into another time-worn drama of loss and redemption.
Oozing blood, sweat and tears, Gyllenhaal acts with real conviction, while Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and Forest Whitaker make the most of their grindingly formulaic parts, Jackson as Gyllenhaal’s treacherous manager and Whitaker as the ruefully wise mentor who turns his life around.