Daily Archives: December 6, 2007

Strength And Honor

The brogues run so thick in this cliche-ridden, Irish-American boxing tale, a first feature by writer-director-producer Mark Mahon, that I might have faced some comprehension problems if the plot and dialogue weren’t so shopworn. A boxer (Michael Madsen) accidentally kills a friend during a sparring match, quits fighting, then resumes his career seven years later, after his wife dies from a hereditary heart condition, in order to pay for an operation for his son, who suffers from the same ailment. It’s not clear why Mahon filmed this intimate story in ‘Scope when his center framing yields so much wasted space, but there’s plenty of ham and blarney (such as graveside monologues) to take up the slack, and at least the boxing sequences are lively. R, 104 min. (JR) Read more


This 2005 feature offered me my first taste of Guy Ritchie’s macho-centric artiness, and I hope it’s my last. His hero (Jason Statham) emerges from seven years in prison ready to take revenge on a casino owner (Ray Liotta), then gets sucked into a mysterious loan-shark operation. All this transpires in a netherworld, neither the U.S. nor the UK, where sub-Tarantino posturing and metaphysical conceits (There’s no such thing as problems, Mr. Greenthere’s only situations) are progressively undermined by a lack of coherent storytelling. Ritchie’s epigrams are endlessly repeated in intertitles and voice-overs, women figure only as decor, and the stylish visual flourishes (which include a few shifts to animation) carry most of the interest. With Vincent Pastore and Andre Benjamin. R, 115 min. (JR) Read more