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'Bleed For This' Review: The Boxing Film's Creed

By Dustin Rowles | Film | November 18, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | November 18, 2016 |

Bleed For This is a boxing film. There are many like it, but this one stars Miles Teller. It is not great. It has not mastered the boxing film as Rocky or Cinderella Man or Raging Bull has mastered the boxing film. Without Miles Teller, this boxing film is useless. Without this boxing film, Miles Teller is useless.

Bleed For This must ring of truth. It must shoot straighter than other boxing films, which have been here many times before. It must box before other films box. Bleed For This and Miles Teller know that what counts in boxing films are not the punches they throw, the crunch of bones, or the knockouts they make. We know that it is the story that counts. Bleed For This does not hit.

Teller’s performance is not human, even as I am human, because it is unremarkable. Thus, I will watch it with boredom. I will learn its weaknesses (it is painfully predictable), its strengths (Aaron Eckhart), its parts (Katey Sagal, Ciarán Hinds and Ted Levine), its accessories (the pointless array of strippers and sidepieces) its sights (Miles Tellers’ wispy mustache) and its barrel (an inspirational but problematic true story based on the career of Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, who returns to the ring after suffering a neck injury in a car accident that leaves him in a neck halo). I will keep my boxing film flatfooted and cliched, even as I am tired and indifferent. We will become part of each other.

Before God I swear this creed. My boxing film and I are the defenders of convention. We are no longer the masters of the box office. We are the saviors of training montages.

So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.