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Mike Wilder brings you movie reviews. Each week a Selection of reviews for new releases and older films plus movie comparisons.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Review of Gladiator (1992) By Mike

Title: Gladiator (1992)

Original UK Release Date: 26th June 1992

Original US Release Date: 6th March 1992

UK Rating: 15

US Rating: R

Director: Rowdy Herrington

Genre: Action, Sports

Tommy Riley has moved with his dad to Chicago. He tries to keep to himself. However, after a street fight he is noticed and quickly falls into the world of illegal underground boxing - where punches can kill.

Mike's Review

            I remember getting advance tickets to this the year it was released. A friend and I went along to see it not knowing what to expect. We knew absolutely nothing about the film. Sometimes this can be the best way to experience a film and occasionally you discover a cinema gem, like this one.

            The film is about Tommy Riley (James Marshall), a teenager who is forced to move with his father from Bridgeport to a run down, troubled part of Chicago. Once there he discovers that his father is in debt to a loan shark. He is then drawn into a world of underground boxing to pay his father’s debt.

            The boxing scenes are well shot and choreographed, the cast including James Marshall, Cara Buono, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert Loggia, Ossie Davis, John Heard & Brian Dennehy really make the movie. If it wasn’t for their performances the movie wouldn’t be half the movie it is. Robert Loggia & Brian Dennehy are great if a little over the top, but the over the top performances work in this film. But it is James Marshall as the lead that gives the film the humanity it needs. His portrayal of the troubled teen forced to fight is great. However the standout performance has to go to Cuba Gooding Jr. He stands out in this film as a true rising star. Unfortunately a few years later after he won an Oscar for his performance in Jerry Maguire he seemed to give up on the more challenging roles.

            This film should be more well known, but it seemed to fall under most people’s radar. A shame as it is a very entertaining film. For pure entertainment this is one of the better films released in 1992. If you like boxing films then this one is definitely one for you.

9 out of 10

Additional Information

Stand out performance: Cuba Gooding Jr. as Abraham Lincoln Haines


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