Monday, August 22, 2016

Hands of Stone

Considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, the Panamanian-born Roberto Duran punched so hard that he earned the nickname Manos de Piedra. The man was known for his iron will, never quitting and almost never losing, yet he infamously blew his hard-won reputation by walking away in the middle of a fight to defend his welterweight title. His story has all the makings of a fascinating film, but Hands of Stone isn't it.

Jonathan Jakubowicz's follow-up to 2005's Secuestro Express runs dutifully through a set of salient facts about Duran (Edgar Ramírez). Hopscotching back and forth in time, it shows him evading brutal U.S. occupying forces in the Canal Zone as a kid (and stealing their mangoes to help feed his fatherless family), partying hard after achieving success as an adult (and eating as only someone who grew up hungry can do), and wooing his wife, Felicidad (Ana de Armas), who he first spots when she's a pneumatic blond schoolgirl and pursues with his trademark cocksure singlemindedness. But all these boxes are ticked off too quickly and perfunctorily to provide much insight into the fighter, other than his resentment of American imperialism, and of the American father who abandoned his family when Duran was a boy. Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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