‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter finds enough to root for in ‘Southpaw’

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When he’s not in the gym, PBC 147-pound star “Showtime” Shawn Porter is a known movie buff. In his regular #ShowtimeAtTheMovies movie reviews on Facebook & Instagram, he loves to tell it like it is after his frequent trips to the theater, whether he thought a film was good, bad or just average. As a veteran of 28 professional fights, there’s few people more fitted to provide an expert analysis of “Southpaw,” a boxing drama that premiered Friday.

Shawn Porter

Shawn Porter shoots down the fight scenes in "Southpaw,” but he praises the performance of star Jake Gyllenhaal.

Being a pro fighter, I obviously have to start with the fight scenes, because that’s what everyone will ask about …

This movie, like a lot of fight movies, displayed excitement within the fight scenes. But like most fight movies, the scenes weren’t very realistic.

I think it’s too hard for Hollywood to make a realistic boxing fight scene because of the added drama and suspense needed for a movie, but rarely seen in real life.

In real fights, there is a chess game being played between two guys while also slugging it out. Unfortunately, that strategic approach to boxing doesn’t translate well to Hollywood, but I get that.

As for Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of 175-pound champ Billy “The Great” Hope, I heard he trained about four months prior to shooting the boxing scenes. He crammed in a lot in a short amount of time, and he really didn’t look too bad!

You could tell he’s got some natural athleticism that worked for him. Combine that with him being a great actor in almost everything he’s in, and he was really good in this role.

The storyline was much more intense on a sentimental level than I had anticipated. All of the actors did a great job, and I think they depicted the lifestyle, the business and the world of boxing pretty accurately.

What I liked most about the film was how it depicted a story of struggle and overcoming the odds.

Most guys who reach that championship level in the sport of boxing had to overcome quite a bit in their life and conquer the odds to get to the peak, so they nailed it there with the general feel of the film.

What did I like least about the film? It was named Southpaw, which had almost nothing to do with the film.

Normally, I’m not a fan of boxing movies. My two favorite boxing movies are The Great White Hype, which is a hilarious comedy with somewhat of an all-star cast headed by Samuel L. Jackson and Damon Wayans, and The Price of Glory, which is a great film about a Hispanic boxing family. Obviously, me coming from a boxing family, that film resonates a lot with me. So those are two boxing films I highly recommend.

As for Southpaw, it’s an inspiring story of hitting rock bottom and finding the resolve to pick yourself up and fight your way back to the top, and everyone wants to leave a movie theater inspired in some way.

The plot had its flaws, but I still recommend the flick. Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker both were especially solid, and in general the film was very well acted.

If you read my reviews, you know I rate films on a scale of 1-to-5 gloves. I’m giving Southpaw 3¾ out of 5 gloves. For Gyllenhaal, and the work he clearly put in in the gym, I’m giving him 4 out of 5 gloves for the effort and performance.

This movie might not win any awards, but you won’t leave the theater thinking you paid for a dud.

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