Hands of Stone


Simplistic biopic of controversial boxing champion Roberto Durán Discuss this article

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This simplistic biopic of controversial champion Roberto Durán creates a history-for-dummies framework for its narrative – choking poverty, US occupation, geopolitical revenge in the ring – but not enough depth.

Durán galvanised the sport with his talent – he also made a premature exit from his 1980 rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard (the No más fight – it roughly translates as ‘no more’), adding a cryptic layer to his myth.

The movie needs más – mucho más. As Durán, Edgar Ramírez carries the arrogance, but he’s stranded by a timid script that doesn’t give him enough private moments. We’re never convinced of the gamesmanship outside the ring, nor does the film connect the fighter’s quest for respect with Panama’s anti-colonialist struggle for independence. Even the boxing scenes feel paper-thin, like an afterthought (probably a good thing when your antagonist is played by feather-light Usher).

Only Reg E. Cathey – as the oily promoter Don King, savvy to race and showmanship – occupies the adult film this might have been. Robert De Niro does his usual frowny, frumpy thing as cornerman Ray Arcel, but the majority of the film is out of his weight class, squandering an opportunity to explore one of the more complex figures in modern-day sports.

The bottom line As poundingly obvious as a jab to the face.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Doha,

Hands of Stone

  • Duration: 105
  • Released: Thu, 01 Sep
  • Language: English
  • Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz
  • Stars: Edgar Ramírez, Usher Raymond, Robert De Niro

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