Bleed for This is a boxing movie in which most of the best scenes take place outside the ring. This real-life comeback story follows a pretty basic formula, but the heart and storytelling are what drive it to be worthwhile.
BLEED FOR THIS is the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history. Miles Teller (Whiplash, Divergent) stars as Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza, a local Providence boxer who shot to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near-fatal car accident leaves Vinny with a broken neck, he is told he may never walk again. Against all odds and doctor’s orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident for what could be the last fight of his life. ~ Open Road Films
Teller does an excellent job portraying this trash-talking junior middleweight. He captures Paziena’s spirit to a tee and never comes off forced or corny. Eckhart is equally as impressive, and the two have great chemistry as fighter and trainer – as any good boxing movie should have.
Watching this womanizing, loudmouthed kid grow as he struggles and wills himself back into fighting condition is successful – you really feel yourself rooting for the kid. The down side is that what goes on INSIDE the ring is less than exciting. Unlike Rocky or Raging Bull, Bleed for This has a dull approach to the actual boxing. The shaky-cam technique is used most of the time to mask the lackluster boxing choreography. There is little build up before a fight, and even less mention of the opponent save for a couple direct sentences.
Regardless, Bleed for This is worth seeing for the story alone. Throw in some stellar performances and a little bit of boxing action, and you’ve got a flick that will hold your attention.