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Review (1/10)
(By Liam Cullin)

Seeing Shadowboxer brought up a lot of questions for me. In no particular order...

1) How and why do good actors make bad movies?
2) How does a movie this ridiculous even get made?
3) Should I seriously consider my policy about walking out in the middle of a movie?

I'm sure there are more questions that begged to be answered -- I just can't think of them right now.

Shadowboxer stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren. They are a mother/son/lovers/hitwoman/hitman team. I bet you're asking yourself how she could be his mother and his lover? Well, she was banging his father who was an abusive prick and after she killed him, she raised Cuba as her own. Now, years later, they have shed the mother/son bond in exchange for the opportunity to experience "something more". Yeah, gross. The shitty part is that she's dying of cancer. (Although you'd never really know it since she doesn't look at all sick over the course of the 2-year span of her her screen time.) So, stricken with cancer, she acquires a newfound respect for life and when her next "hit" (Vanessa Ferlito) turns out to be pregnant, she chooses not to kill her and instead takes her and her unborn child in. Soon, the child is born, we get a graphic sex/death scene between Cuba and his cancer-stricken "mother" and Cuba is left to keep the target in hiding (with the help of an ugly blonde wig) and help raise her son. Several years pass (although Miss Ferlito's wig stays the same) and eventually her past (in the form of Stephen Dorff) catches up with them. The movie also "boasts" career lows for the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mo'Nique and Macy Gray.

If you can't tell already, I thought this movie was brutal. First off the story was just asinine. It was all just so boringly unoriginal it was insulting. You know a movie is going to suck when people flock from the theater only 5 minutes after it starts. And the characters were all just so fake -- almost like cardboard cutouts of characters we've seen over and over again. The only person who breathed any life into the movie was Dorff. The others just made me roll my eyes, check my watch and look desperately for the nearest exit. And Vanessa Ferlito -- you can't act. And if you can, this movie doesn't show it. Find another profession. You'd think the only saving grace here might be a little boobie-action on her behalf, but it just doesn't happen. Instead, the only nudity we're treated to is the sight of Stephen Dorff's sloppy wet penis and Cuba Gooding's ass thrusting Helen Mirren. (And although it isn't nudity, we also get to see the sloppiness of some broad's snatch all over Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face.) So, if that's your idea of quality cinema, by all means check this one out.

As for my policy of walking out in the middle of a movie? Well, my theory is that it would be disrespectful to the filmmakers who worked so hard to bring the movie to the big screen. But, if the filmmakers can't show the respect of putting out quality flick, why should I bother? This was the first movie I saw at this year's Toronto Film Festival -- and I didn't even want to see it. I was in line for "Thank You For Smoking" but couldn't get in as apparently there were no seats available. Instead, I saw this one by default. The movie was being hyped as the directorial debut of Lee Daniels (who previously produced such acclaimed movies as "Monster's Ball" and "The Woodsman") so I thought I'd give it a shot. What a mistake. If I could offer any advice it'd be this -- Mr. Daniels, stick to producing.

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