The Fighter

The Fighter


True story, boxing-drama with a stellar cast including Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees).... More

Follows working-class boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his unlikely road to the World Light Welterweight title. Ward started off 14 and 0 in his professional career but, after a stretch of defeats in the early '90s, he quit. Three years later he returned with a vengeance, winning nine straight fights. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky (Bale, in an Oscar and Golden Globe winning performance), a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded in life after being KO'd by drugs and crime. Set and shot in Lowell, Massachusetts.Hide

On Demand, DVD & Blu-Ray

Available from 3 providers

Flicks Review

This is great stuff. Following the true story of Massachusetts’ welterweight Micky Ward’s road to glory, The Fighter is as interested in the family drama as it is the boxing. There’s no shortage of it as Micky (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself in the middle of an emotionally charged family hell-bent on interfering with his life and career. This support cast is exceptional: the fiery girlfriend (Adams), overbearing mum (Melissa Leo), caught-in-the-hurricane dad (Jack McGee) and a flock of bizarre, squawking sisters (seven of them).... More

Christian Bale plays Dickie, Ward’s crack-addicted brother, a former boxer who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard (or did Leonard trip over? Depends on your point of view). His wild, hilarious performance brilliantly captures a man with a veneer of staunch pride and a stack of insecurities underneath. Watching him and Wahlberg’s Micky, a big-hearted dreamer, is the year’s first real highlight for me.

The filmmaker and the material were always going to be intriguing bedfellows – David O. Russell’s fantastic earlier movies are controversial (Three Kings) and philosophical (I Heart Huckabees) – whereas this is straight, classic sports drama. The match-up works thanks to Russell’s taste for the unusual. He finds new blood in well-tread fare with moments of hilarity, realism in the ring and outstanding performances.

On its way to the inevitable big bout, The Fighter dallies with schmaltz but is always compelling and it earns its uplifting finale. Plus, the fights are awesome.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 12 ratings, 12 reviews
Reviewed & Rated by
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

Whether you regard this as an excellent movie about brothers and boxing or a cliche-ridden trot through familiar "underdog makes good despite tough background" territory - THE FIGHTER is undeniably entertaining and well-made drama. It may be soft-core compared to the likes of the ferocity of the superb RAGING BULL, but this ROCKY retread has some heart - largely due to a stellar stand-out performance by Vhristian Bale, who is superb as Wahlberg's no good brother. Marky Mark is, well,... More the same as ever, in his no nonsense blue collar guy way and it's all pretty good. Nothing new here, you've seen it all before in the likes of ROCKY 1,2,3,4,5,6 and CINDERELLA MAN - but it's solid and worth it for Bale alone.Hide

A cliched, paint-by-numbers underdog boxing flick, saved from mediocrity by an excellent off-the-wall and hyped up, but overly studied, Christian Bale. A fine, understated performance by Wahlberg, but his character isn't strong enough and I wasn't invested in him for a finale that just goes through the motions. For a real knockout watch The Boxer for Day Lewis's extraordinary intensity inside and out the ring.

Underdog boxers have it made in movies. Rocky and Million Dollar Baby both won Best Picture Oscars and fat purses. But they were fiction films that could make stuff up and add rah-rah without shame. The Fighter is a true story that has facts to stick to about ?Irish? Micky Ward, a blue-collar street rat from Lowell, Massachusetts, who bumped along nearly anonymously in the 1980s before winning a welterweight title.

It?s Micky?s story that attracted actor-producer Mark Wahlberg to make The... More Fighter. He spent four years training to play this quiet warrior surrounded by the noise of conflict. This immersive marvel of a movie resembles Micky?s left hook in the way it sneaks up and floors you. For Wahlberg, it?s a labour of love ? hard labour.

When The Wrestler?s Darren Aronofsky passed on directing, Wahlberg brought on David O. Russell, the sparking live wire who guided him through two of his best performances, in Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees.
After Matt Damon and Brad Pitt turned down the role of crackhead Dickie, Wahlberg lucked out big-time with Christian Bale. To watch these two dynamite actors spar is one of the purest pleasures of the movie.

I have one word for Bale: phenomenal. He dropped 30 pounds [almost 14kgs] to play the skinny, loose-limbed, demon-driven Dickie. But his hilarious and heartbreaking performance cuts deep under the surface. Bale?s eyes reflect the man Micky grew up hero-worshipping as ?the pride of Lowell? who might find that pride again as Micky?s trainer.

Wahlberg?s approach to Micky is appropriately and artfully lower-key. He?s the soul of the movie, showing how Micky shapes himself as a man who can take on a champion like Arturo Gatti, and his own family.

Russell and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema stage the fights thrillingly, without losing sight that the real ring of fire for Micky has been drawn by mom Alice (a spectacular Melissa Leo -- rivals nature as a force) and Micky?s seven sisters.

The scene in which Micky brokers his own truce with Charlene and Dickie is a highlight for the film and the actors.

The Fighter, its heart full to bursting, is an emotional powerhouse that comes close to spilling over. No sweat. Like Micky, this is a warrior?s movie that rises to the bell.Hide

Christian Bale is fantastic. The whole issue of Micky Ward's boxing career being manipulated by his family before doing what he needs to do for himself is a good story.

However, the film spends way too much time on family drama outside of the boxing. It is an episode of Brothers & Sisters, except in Boston.

The characters are largely very stereotypical. In spite of this, Christian Bale pulls off yet another fantastic performance to go along with The Machinist, The Prestige, The Dark... More Knight, Batman Begins and his best of all, American Psycho - along with others.

It seemed like the film would rather focus on family drama within their homes and the relationships of everyone, and didn't seem to care about the boxing. This resulted in almost two different films, one about the relationships of people in and around this family and another about a boxer and his family's impact on his career.

Aside from Bale, performances were commendable, but I don't see why Leo is the front-runner for an oscar. Aside from looking nothing like they normally do, Melissa Leo and Amy Adam's acting weren't fantastic.

It lacked direction and purpose - however a very strong third act and fantastic boxing finale (which should have been what the film was about) leads to many leaving the cinema thinking that this film was better than it was. Unfortunately it had too many issues to be great.

6/10 - 3 StarsHide

BY Coreena lister

love the sisters . good solid watch

Showing 5 of 12 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

91% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The weakness of the film is the weakness of the leading role. That's not a criticism of Mark Wahlberg, who has a quite capable range, but of how he and Russell see the character. Full Review

  • The Fighter might tread the well-worn route of almost every sports movie before it, but two very different but equally powerful performances combine to deliver an exhilarating fight-flick that, like its scrappy central character, is impossible not to root for. Full Review

  • So like much of this film, the viewer is turned into an observer. You never feel close enough to the action, either in the ring or in the kitchens, living rooms and tough streets where the story takes place. The characters engage you up to a point but never really pull you in. Full Review

  • With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness - I can't quite exclaim, "It's a knockout!" - and that the most impressive thing about it is technique. Full Review

  • If The Fighter feels like kind of a mess, lurching from one scene to the next as if the film itself has taken a few hits to the head, that's not entirely a bad thing. Full Review