In 1988, director David Drury released this tale of pugilism. Starring Gene Hackman, another of those reliable actors who is always going to give a great and very watchable performance, this is the story of Dan McGuinn (Hackman) a boxing fighter like his father before him. His two sons are also following in the family business, hardly surprising since they are all crammed into one small home in New York City. Ray and Eddie are the two brothers most concerned with the sport and Ray has moved to where the work is, signing with a trainer who was once the rival of Dan’s which causes the family to have to deal with divided loyalties.
Unfortunately for both Ray and the family, Ray manages to get involved with a group of hoodlums and their lives become more complicated as Ray rises through the middleweight ranks and has to face the most important bout of his career so far. To be honest, it is a story we have seen many times, where a dedicated young man, obsessed with fighting in the ring gets in way over his head as shady forces work to rig the games and make money in the background, showing little mercy to those who get in their way. The script is the weakest element of the movie being nothing new at all and with some unbelievably stilted dialogue which nevertheless, the actors usually manage to make work, a testament to their skill! Jeff Fahey as Ray and Craig Scheffer as Eddie both give their all for their roles as the two divided brothers and Hackman rises to the occasion with his usual studied brilliance.
Technically, the film falls into the category of “not bad”. Drury is clearly a talented director but seems inexperienced in his handling of some scenes, particularly, alas the boxing matches themselves which seem very contrived and clichéd in places with the all important last fight seeming almost ridiculous sometimes. What is good is the mise en scene, the movie was filmed on location in downtown New York and does a very good job of painting a realistic picture of that quarter of the city.
Director: David Drury
Stars: Gene Hackman, Craig Sheffer and Jeff Fahey