DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Antoine Fuqua
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris
Writing Credits:
Kurt Sutter

Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

Box Office:
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$16,701,294 on 2,772 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 124 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 10/27/2015

• “Inside the Ring” Featurette
• Q&A With Cast
• Eight Deleted Scenes
• Extended Training Montage
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Southpaw [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 22, 2015)

Has any sport generated as many successful movies as boxing? Probably not, and 2015’s Southpaw becomes the latest entry in the genre to throw its hat into the ring – ha!

Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal) enjoys a pretty good life. The light heavyweight world champion, he’s happily married to gorgeous Maureen (Rachel McAdams) and adores his tween daughter Leila (Oona Laurence).

Unfortunately, the good times don’t last, as Maureen dies in a tragic accident. This sends Billy into a downward spiral so he loses custody of Leila and gets left behind by manager Jordan Mains (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). When Billy hits bottom, he eventually turns to trainer Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) in an attempt to gain redemption, both in personal and professional arenas.

Now in his mid-thirties, I think the odds that Gyllenhaal ever becomes an “A”-list actor seem slim. Back when he was younger and got roles in potential blockbuster franchises like Prince of Persia, he appeared to have a shot at super-stardom, but as time passes, this feels less likely.

Which is fine with me, as Gyllenhaal’s path toward quirkier character parts suits him. It remains a shame that Oscar didn’t reward Gyllenhaal with a nomination for his remarkable work in 2014’s Nightcrawler, and the actor offers another good turn as Billy.

In addition to the physical transformation involved – Gyllenhaal packed on the muscle to play Billy after going bone-thin for Nightcrawler - the actor manages to find the heart of his character. He creates a convincing portrayal that adds depth and meaning to the film.

Unfortunately, Gyllenhaal does so largely on his own, as otherwise, Southpaw offers pretty thin gruel. The film lacks much real narrative thrust, and as it shows the depths to which Billy falls, we get an unintended consequence: we really don’t like him.

Granted, not every movie needs a likeable protagonist – God knows Gyllenhaal’s role in Nightcrawler was extremely off-putting, but that suited the tale. On the other hand, Southpaw needs for us to care about its lead. If we desire to see Billy rise from his low point, then we need to invest in him.

We don’t – or at least we don’t dig into Billy to the degree the movie needs. Southpaw spends so much time with Billy in his “decline mode” that by the time he starts to rebound, we find it tough to connect with him. For most of the movie, Billy seems neither sympathetic nor compelling; he just comes across like a dopey douche.

Southpaw does pick up when Billy and Tick develop a relationship. As much as these scenes borrow from the first Rocky movie, Gyllenhaal and Whitaker enjoy such good chemistry that the sequences come to life.

Those segments don’t quite fly high enough to redeem Southpaw, though. Despite the best efforts of its cast, the film seems too trite and derivative to succeed on a consistent basis.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Southpaw appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently pleasing presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed excellent. Little to no softness emerged, so the flick was accurate and detailed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

Colors varied but tended toward amber or teal. Within those parameters, the hues were positive. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed good smoothness and clarity. I felt happy with the transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Southpaw, it came with moderate ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up on occasion. For instance, boxing scenes became a little more involving. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough, with clean highs and warm lows. The track never became rock-em sock-em, but the soundtrack suited the material.

A smattering of extras show up here, and we launch with Inside the Ring. This 21-minute, 30-second piece offers notes from director Antoine Fuqua, boxing commentator Jim Lampley, boxer/analyst Roy Jones, Jr., boxer Victor Ortiz, screenwriter Kurt Sutter, and actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Oona Laurence and Naomie Harris.

“Ring” looks at story/characters, Gyllenhaal’s training and the depiction of the boxing scenes, cast and performances, and Fuqua’s impact on the production. Occasional worthwhile tidbits emerge here, but most of the program follows a promotional bent. This means we get lots of praise and not a ton of good information.

Next we find a Q&A With the Cast<. In this 18-minute, 56-second reel, we hear from Gyllenhaal, McAdams, Jackson, Laurence, and Miguel Gomez. They discuss characters and performances as well as related elements. Inevitably, some of this feels fluffy, but the actors manage to give us a bunch of nice insights into their choices.

Eight Deleted Scenes total 20 minutes, 46 seconds. These mostly expand on supporting characters, with an emphasis on the Leila and Angela roles. Some of the sequences go on too long – especially those with Billy and his family pre-tragedy – but a few add some useful character material.

We also find an Extended Training Montage. It goes for four minutes, three seconds and mainly shows Gyllenhaal as he gets in shape for the movie. If you want to see the actor shirtless, it’s worth a look. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

The disc opens with ads for No Escape, Big Eyes and The Imitation Game. No trailer for Southpaw appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Southpaw. It includes “Inside the Ring” but lacks the other Blu-ray extras.

At its best, Southpaw benefits from good performances, particularly in terms of the chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker. Unfortunately, too much of the movie relies open stale melodrama. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals as well as positive audio and a decent selection of bonus materials. Southpaw has its moments but doesn’t boast enough of these to satisfy on a consistent basis.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main