There’s no ducking and weaving from it: "Southpaw" has proved to be both a financial and critical flop since it was released earlier this month. But while critics and audiences have failed to connect with the boxing drama, what did a bona-fide icon of the sport think about it? Well, now we have our answer, because Oscar De La Hoya has revealed just what he thought of "Southpaw." And he has quite a few issues with it.
Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, De La Hoya, who is a ten-time boxing world champion across six weight divisions (in other words, he’s the real deal) admitted that he had no problem with the fighting sequences in "Southpaw." In fact, he heaped praise on Jake Gyllenhaal’s visceral and physical performance. But De La Hoya found issues.
He wrote, "Gunplay at black-tie functions; fighters unleashing uncontrollable rages at home; promoters fixing fights. Has this type of behavior reared its head in the history of our sport? At times, unfortunately, yes. Is it common? Absolutely not."
What De La Hoya found himself most peeved at was the scenes outside of the ring, which he believes showed the fighter, promoters, and anyone associated with the sport in a stereotypically bad light. And while Oscar De La Hoya is criticizing "Southpaw" for the way that it has reinforced various misconceptions that have long been associated with the sport, many reviews have criticized the film for these same failings, too. But instead, they hated it because it was cinematically lazy and hackneyed.
For those of you who haven’t seen "Southpaw" you might not want to read ahead because there are SPOILERS ahoy.
Are they gone? Good. So, "Southpaw" is dripping with cliché. Not only is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Billy Hope forced to retire at the top of his game because of an eye injury, but his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is then shot and killed by an up-and-coming boxer’s brother.
Gyllenhaal’s Hope then starts drinking and dabbling in drugs, before he then fights a referee and is ultimately suspended and left indebted because of his actions. He then almost dies in a car crash while drunk and loses custody of his daughter.
Hope then gets a job at a gym, before a fight is organized between Hope and Miguel. During the bout, Hope is reminded that he could go blind, while Miguel goads Hope about the death of Maureen, but Hope has to try and remain calm in order to win back the love of his daughter. I think you can all guess how it ends.
As you can tell, "Southpaw" is overwhelmed with a variety of storylines and narratives, each of which would probably have made for their own impressive film. But because they are amalgamated together, "Southpaw" is top heavy with ideas, most of which fail to flourish. Which is a damn shame, because Gyllenhaal is not only in fine shape throughout the film, but he gives yet another towering performance that continues his rich vein of form. He just needs to be a bit more selective with his material.