Robert De Niro is no stranger to the cinematic boxing ring, having starred in one of the finest movies ever made, ‘Raging Bull’ as Jake LaMotta, and he will be looking to take on the genre again in ‘Hands of Stone.’ This time, however, De Niro will take on the role of trainer, and the boxing focus will be on Gael García Bernal, who played famous boxer Roberto Duran.
Unfortunately, this will not be De Niro’s only future boxing film, as he has just finished filming ‘Grudge Match’ with Sylvester Stallone, where the two stars will play two very old boxers who are convinced to come out of retirement to fight one another over 50 years after they previously fought. I’m really not sure what to say about this particular film, except…. why? Anyway, that’s another topic.
So the focus here will be on the legendary fights between Duran and boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. The pair fought three times, two of which were classics. I won’t spoil the film too much, and if you don’t want SPOILERS don’t read on. But most boxing fans know about the legendary ‘No Mas!’ fight, the second of the trilogy, where Duran famously uttered those words following the 8th round. Having quit the fight, Duran created a mass of controversy that hasn’t been resolved to this day. I am sure that the film will do much more than just mention this aspect of Duran’s history, but rather focus in on it as the central point of the story’s narrative. How true to life what the film uncovers will be we will have to wait and see, but I hope that they are able to stick to the truth as much as possible.
One question I have is, who will be on the line to play Sugar Ray? According to IMDB, pop star Usher will play the part and I hope to all the gods in the world of all and any religions, that this is misguided information. I’ve always thought that Don Cheadle is a dead lookalike of Sugar Ray Leonard, so my hope would be that he could whip himself into shape and play the roll to perfection.
With all that said, I’ll be honest here and say that I don’t have high hopes for this film. I can’t tell you why, but it’s just a hunch. I hope I’m wrong though, as this is a real life story that has always intrigued me and that is perfect for the big screen.