Based on the true story of Vinnie Pazienza (Teller), the “Pazmanian Devil”, from Rhode Island who shot to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near fatal car crash that left Vinny with a nearly severed cervical spine, the doctors told him he would be lucky to walk again. Against all odds and the doctor’s orders, his trainer (Eckhardt) agrees to help Vinny return to the ring in less than a year and regain his crown. Talk about a tough comeback!
2017, Color, Rated R, 1 hour 57 minutes
1080p, DTS-MA 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhardt, Katey Sagal and Ciaran Hinds
Directed by: Ben Younger
Unlike the Rocky series, this story is about a real person, which makes this film a bit more compelling. Though there are fight scenes in this film, the real story takes place outside of the Ring. Young, cocky and on his way to an outstanding career, Vinny is involved in a terrible head on car crash that almost severs his cervical spine.
Instead of opting for a sudden career change, he decides to work his way back, even though his neck and head are transfixed in a halo (a metal cage that is attached to his skull to keep his neck immobilized). His life becomes an exercise in determination…or some would say stubbornness. Once he recovers, no boxer wanted to fight him for fear of finishing the job and leaving him paralyzed for life (or dead). Since boxing was Vinny’s life, he was willing to work hard at getting back into the Ring, or die trying.
Overall, the story was quite compelling and you really get a feel for the pain and determination this guy went through. The fact that he even attempted a comeback makes for a good story, but becoming victorious in the end really seals the deal. The acting is excellent with great supporting performances by Eckhardt (his bald trainer) and Hinds (playing his somewhat stereotypical boxing father). Though I may never watch this film twice, it was worth the initial viewing and highly recommended.
The picture is on the warm side with accurate flesh tones and bold colors. Details are well seen, both in facial flaws and fine stitching in silk boxing garments. Even though there are several scenes at night and in the ring, you can make out details in the crowd and streets. I did not see any crushing or murkiness during the film. Sound was clear and often dynamic, especially during the fighting sequences. All in all, a clean looking film that enhances the story that is being told.
These include: Deleted scenes, Inspired by a Legend (cast members and Vinny Pazienza discuss the real life story), An Authentic World (filmmakers and cast discuss how they achieved the look of the movie). The included interviews with the “real” Vinny are quite interesting.