The latest boxing movie to slug it out in the cinematic ring, The Fighter is a based-on-truth tale of a scrappy underdog who triumphs against the odds. Played by Mark Wahlberg, ‘Irish’ Micky Ward is a journeyman boxer in early-1990s Massachusetts whose career is on the ropes because of his spectacularly dysfunctional family. His crack-addicted half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale), insists on acting as his trainer, while their fearsome mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), serves as his manager, urged on by the brothers’ six hard-cursing sisters and half-sisters. Micky is a punch-bag in and out of the ring, until he hooks up with feisty local barmaid Charlene (Amy Adams, cast defiantly against type), who persuades him that he has to cut loose from his family to get a shot at success. With director David O Russell getting terrific, heavyweight performances from his cast, The Fighter leaves the viewer reeling from the bruising drama inside and outside the ring. Wahlberg is a lot less flashy than his Oscar-winning co-stars Bale and Leo, yet it’s his solidly convincing, straight from the shoulder performance that gives the movie its punch.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray on 20th June.