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)

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